Dax Riggs, We Sing of Only Blood or Love (Fat Possum Records)

Ex-Deadboy & the Elephantmen front man Dax Riggs posted a message on the old Deadboy MySpace page stating that Deadboy was no more, but they were more than just a band and, “it’s in my DNA.” That must explain why Riggs’ new album is similar to the gothic swamp-glam of Deadboy’s debut album. Releasing it under his own name rather than under the Deadboy moniker, he sheds some of his folk aspirations in favor of a dirty rock and blues-oriented sound.

We Sing of Only Blood or Love is a dirty swamp-rock album from start to finish. Brooding guitars give way to Riggs’ soulful crooning on the Soundgarden-esque “Night Is the Notion.” “Radiation Blues” is a post-apocalyptic rocker with a slow, churning blues verse that picks up speed during a distorted guitar-filled chorus. Much of the album is heavy and raw, including the industrial “Truth in the Dark,” but a hint that industrial is just another manifestation of glam comes when “Living is Suicide” evolves into a dark new wave section with pounding piano chords that resemble Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock.”

The album falters during the slower numbers, however. They showcase Riggs’ vocal ability, but they just don’t have the same bite and heavy backbeat that propels the other songs. We Sing of Only Blood or Love is a raw, dark, and grimy journey, and I’m sure Riggs wouldn’t want it any other way.