Option #48 - Jan/Feb 1993

These Immortal Souls
I'm Never Gonna Die Again

Rowland Howard's right, of course - since you only get one chance to die, you better not fuck it up. Guitarist Howard, in stints with the Birthday Party, Crime & the City Solution, Lydia Lunch, Nikki Sudden et al., has made a career of exploring life's bleakest aspects through rock'n'roll. But These Immortal Souls has been the band closest to his heart, I think; the one that's his vision and his show. As singer, writer and sole guitarist on this album, he comes off as a desperado, a loner with pretensions to poetry and melodrama, a romantic with a death wish. From an emotional standpoint, he's he's like an outlaw country singer - David Allan Coe or Johnny Paycheck - come to tell you a story, a wild-ass tale that proves nothing more than the teller's own fears and insecurities. "The story goes that I'd give up gladly... Everybody knows that I've fucked up badly... Everybody knows I've only got one song, and it's much too slow and it's much too long", Howard reports in the album's centerpiece ("So the Story Goes"). Despite evident talent as a guitarist and broad artistic accomplishments, that's his self-image in a nutshell. If self-destruction was a spectator sport, an album this true could have 'em standing in the aisles. (Mute/Elektra) -Scott Becker