The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

Design Desire



By Shane Pinnegar

Abbe May’s 4th album proper proves a sensual left turn from this prodigious and raunchy Perth guitarist and singer with the throaty growl of a lioness suckled on early Delta blues.


Having quit modern stoner rockers The Fuzz after one quintessential album, May dragged her guitar into every beer drenched shit hole which would have her, honing her talent and direction, strengthening her amazing voice and playing style, before finally putting together outfits The Rocking Pneumonia and then, Abbe May & The Devil.


Early releases showed an obsession with the likes of Howlin’ Wolf and Big Mama Thornton, alongside an eagerness to lyrically define her seemingly voracious sexual appetite!


“Design Desire” is a definite progression from the old blues of her earlier albums – in fact 2 whole albums of material have apparently been shelved as May embraced the evolution of her writing and sound.


The good news is that her sexy swagger, incendiary riffs and noisenik guitar are all still as fiery as they’ve ever been, with KT Rumble, May’s brother and long time collaborator, remaining on hand to help out with six string noisescaping and abuse.


The groin thrusting rawness of the guitars couple exquisitely with the sexual energy and innuendo to make listening to an Abbe May album a physically gratifying experience, and a move towards her new sound don’t change anything on this front. If anything, that throaty lioness growl has merely matured and now includes a purr that hasn’t previously been explored.


There are a few hints of Polly Jean Harvey that haven’t been so obvious on previous releases, especially on the piano ballad ‘Blood River’, and although tracks like ‘You Could Be Mine’ are vintage Abbe May, ‘No Sleep Tonight’ sounds like Portishead trickled through a collection of Delta blues vinyl LPs.


Abbe’s new direction on “Design Desire” thankfully isn’t a complete departure from all which came before – more of an evolution, a distillation of wider influences into a slightly new direction. Perhaps she will resurrect The Rockin’ Pneumonia for another old blues album at some point in the future, but for now we eagerly await “Design Desire” to take her to new places and a wider audience – not to mention new sounds for her to wrap her sinewy guitar and her throaty purr around.