The seductive neo-blues of Seattle's The Missionary Position is already one the most compelling sounds in the Northwest. But a dose of star power rarely hurts, and that's just what the band's sound gets with Walking Papers, a new collaboration between The Missionary Position's singer and guitarist Jefferson Angell, Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees and Guns 'n' Roses alum Duff McKagan.
The band's debut self-titled album, released Oct. 2, also features Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready.
Because of the distinctiveness of Angell's richly toned blues moan and guitar work, much of the album follows in the vein of the two existing Missionary Position albums, especially on early tracks like "Your Secret's Safe with Me" and "Red Envelopes."
Walking Papers really sets itself apart when it puts aside the fuzz guitar and explores blues territory more in the vein of Tom Waits than the proto-grunge of John Lee Hooker.
"A Place Like This" has a lagging Latin beat with sparse tremolo guitar and flourishes of trumpet. It apes the seduction Angell's work is known for but with a restrained, evil jazz sound like a smooth "Jockey Full of Bourbon"-era Tom Waits.
It is followed by "Independence Day," a driving tune with watery guitar textures layered over driving, come-hither fuzz riffs.
On the whole, Walking Papers' debut album is cleanly split between two sounds: big blues rock riffs and spooky vocals, and more experimental tracks. Both are solid work, but listeners may find themselves skipping back and forth between the sound they prefer.