Agony Shorthand

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Definitely a group determined to divide and conquer, the COUNTRY TEASERS have long put off a love-us-or-hate-us-we-don’t-care vibe that has kept them on the margins of critical inquiry for some time now. Once a cross between 60s garage and “Fiery Jack”-era FALL skiffle rock – with a heap of “controversial” un-PC lyrics designed to get a rise out of the thin-skinned – they’re now venturing off into some sampling and laptop beat work, while still retaining most of the chug and grind of their earlier rock-based work. Maybe not a recipe for audience expansion – and if/when you hear this record, you’ll get a sense of what I mean -- but I’ll tell you what: I think they’re pretty right-on. I like them better now then when they were Crypt’s standout break-the-mold non-bonzai garage band (circa “Satan Is Real Again”).

The opening “Success” is a real FALL “Prole Art Threat”-style pounder, chugging and churning with agitated abandon and a real Pink Press Threat feel. It’s the safest piece on here and coincidentally or not, my favorite. I also dig the sparse, live-to-tape “Deaths”, which has some bizarre lyrics about morbidity and loss. I mean, this B.R. Wallers aka “The Rebel” fella is obviously a smart guy, so why does he continue, a decade-plus after he started this racket, to kowtow to the infantile and the hard up? A typical example here is a lyric like, “It’s very cold outside / But you have a warm vagina / May I overnight / With my penis warm inside ya”. Nyuk nyuk. Further examples abound, and have throughout the band’s career. It seems like it’d be the easiest baggage to lose and yet it seems to give Wallers a perverse thrill, like he just might piss off the Take Back The Night crowd and somehow that would make his deliberately purple prose all worth it. In any event, the Country Teasers continue to impress in the whole, given the fact that the band is piece-parted all over the globe and yet still retain a creative and original fuck-you vision. Their placement on the now-evolving In The Red roster actually makes some sense. I’m scheduled to watch them perform live in the coming weeks, and if the planets align properly, I might actually make it to the show and will deliver a full scene report thusly.