Texas singer-songwriter David Olney has completed his trilogy of EPs collectively called Body of Evidence with Robbery & Murder, an eight song opus. The tracks alternate between tales about the couple Betty and Dupree (based on the classic Chuck Willis R&B tune, “Betty and Dupree”, a version of which Olney performs here) and a woman named Delia. Every other cut also deals with either a theft or homicide. The music is what one would call Noir Gothic, full of dark filigree and the ghosts of true love that may be stronger than death, if not life.
Olney’s dry vocal inflections and pulsating guitar and bass licks evoke the pleasures and pains of being in relationships ruled by passion. He’s joined by Jack Irwin on drums, percussion and piano, and Jim Hoke on saxophone and harmonica, who deftly embroider the soundtrack to these mental movies where the atmospherics are as important as the plot. The affectations of mood may turn off those who wouldn’t know Bogey from Cagney, but fans of urban psychological thrillers from the past made in black and white will find much to enjoy here, as will those looking for deep story songs that resonate with the meanings of good and evil. If Robert Mitchum came back from the dead, he’d feel right at home in the songs of this mini-album.