Friday, 18 January 2013

Country Teasers - "Satan Is Real Again or Feeling Good About Bad Thoughts" (Crypt, 1996)

Scotland's Country Teasers are one of those rare bands that put forth an image through their lyrics (and crude, childish cover art) that is so repugnant that even the rare music fan who enjoys them is often reluctant to admit it. Walking the delicate line between frigid irony and blatant attacks on humankind, Ben Wallers' scratchy voiced sing-speak takes aim at the world in what might be considered the musical equivalent of Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal. It is with this in mind that one can begin to believe that Wallers' in-your-face songs about women being inferior, black men being sexually obsessed, and Satan being Wallers' only friend are a tongue-in-cheek way of making the listener realize how absurd things like racism and sexism truly are. Musically, Satan Is Real Again is a better-realized version of the fractured honky-tonk punk of 1995's Pastoral -- Not Rustic. While the ragged, discordant, twangy treble of the guitars is not what Guitar Player magazine might consider good, it is this slightly off-kilter approach that makes them appealing. Much like the lyrics, one gets the distinct impression that the band's clear mastermind, Wallers, knows exactly what he is doing, crafting songs that are at once abrasive and melodic, tuneless and catchy. Perhaps it takes more skill to make music sound this accidental than to orchestrate soulless pop. Over a mangled riff lifted directly from Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir," Satan Is Real Again's second track, "Black Change," tells a story of a white man who gets an injection and becomes the stereotypical black man he once feared. Perhaps the album's best song, the jaunty "Thank You God for Making Me an Angel," should be embraced as a feminist anthem (in anti-feminist disguise) smarter and wittier than anything Kathleen Hanna has ever written. In the song, Wallers proudly lists reasons he's glad to be a man rather than a woman, citing things like "I can drink whiskey and stay on my feet/walk by myself at night in the street/don't have assholes whistle at me/I can pick up big things because I am strong/I can sing about bitches in my song." Saucy.

Music: from Abysmill Blog