Swiping the gritty attributes of heroines Chrissie Hynde, Janis Joplin and Joan Jett, singer/guitarist Case throttles her defiantly personal lyrics with a nicotine-and-hooch throatiness not heard since Hole's Courtney Love flipped the bird at the post-Nirvana grunge scene.
Formed in Detroit in 1999 from the sweaty loins of a sinful back-alley rumble between Case and the rhythm section of much-revered, lo-fi crud trio the Hentchmen (bass wizard John Szymanski and skin-basher Bill Hafer), the supremely confident third album from these 30-somethings takes no prisoners. Conspicuous tracks include the vicious garage--psych hailstorm of "Bring It Back" and the defiant album centerpiece "Like a Man," a bluesy, nitro-propelled barnstormer where Iggy, the MC5 and Golden Earring swap war stories in a Methadone clinic waiting line.
Supported by the razor-sharp, stabbing leads of guitarist Danny Methric, Case exposes tiers of emotional pain and brutal truths about love and its many euphoric, hurtful and perplexing symptoms. Birthed from a nasty breakup between Case and an ex-boyfriend, Love, Not Reason traces the relationship's emotional rollercoaster ride with brute frankness and feral abandon. During the ragged explosiveness of opener "Love Letter," a scabrous confessional to the dismissed lover, the Paybacks kick out the jams in a search-and-destroy mission for unrequited radar love.