AMN Reviews: Bad Suburban Nightmare – Highway 2 (Must Die Records)

a2118199017_2Daniel Hreckow plays his guitar as if his ego has been dragged along a dirt road behind a ´60s Ford pickup. However beaten and bruised, his hands, his guitar and his mind are in perfect shape. On this, his second Highway album under the name Bad Suburban Nightmare, he thinks out each note so meticulously that you the listener have plenty of time to digest the one before. Far from conventional melodies, each ten to fifteen minute piece is a tale with many subplots that never wanders off topic. His first album sounded much rougher, much more raw (I wrote, “clawing harshly at his electric guitar”), although the title track (which he begins by picking out the notes like they were a national anthem; if not the national anthem, then Bad Suburban Nightmare´s) does ruffle a few feathers. He sang a bit, too, mumbling repetitive mantras. Highway 2 features no vocals except a few, wrenching syllables at the very end. It doesn´t need them, his playing is articulate enough, directly communicative and very honest. Good music to read Charles Bukowski´s poetry to, the kind with lines like, “there’s a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out but I’m too tough for him”.

Stephen Fruitman