East Cameron Folkcore: For Sale


East Cameron Folkcore
For Sale
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)

As if ripping a page from the Chumbawamba anarchy-as-art field guide, East Cameron Folkcore’s For Sale careens like a pinball from Irish-drinking-song joviality to mad-as-hell, Occupy activist exhortations. Yet throughout this nearly 47-minute exercise in creative noise-making, the 11-member Austin collective makes one message abundantly clear: Anger can be fun.

On the sea shanty-like “Director’s Cut,” they just about come right out and say so, with singer Jesse Moore leading gleeful choruses of “I hope you know we’re all going to hell.” In “Sallie Mae,” he addresses the sad state of today’s debt-laden, job-deprived youth (“fed the lies of higher education”), raggedly yowling, “I ain’t got your money, honey!” Accompanied by a crescendo of noise, he cries, “Why do you treat me this way?” The humor tickles, but doesn’t dull the punch of a serious message from a generation that has no reason to believe in a financially secure future — a point also touched upon in the rage-against-the-machine diatribe of “Robin Hood’s Rise.”

That tune is one of many enhanced by Mary Beth Widhalm’s dramatic cello; it fuels the insurgent sense of passion and urgency propels most of East Cameron Folkcore’s music — a marriage of Mumfords/Avetts/Lumineers folk-stomp raucousness with the somehow harmonious cacophony of a tuning orchestra. “Chasing the Devil” and “Humble Pie” are great examples of their sonic propensity to throw it all against the wall and see what sticks. In the latter, Moore strongly evokes Shane MacGowan’s reckless punk spirit while singing of “trying to build a balance between anger, lust and greed.”

In “Worst Enemy,” heavy rock riffs meet plucks of delicate mandolin; in contrast, “Don’t Choke” ladles heavy baritone sax over Moore’s scraped-raw vocals and a melody straight out of Grease — complete with girl-group choruses and a doo-wop finish.

Hey, if the past is better than the future, why not revisit it? Nothing wrong with a little joyride en route to the apocalypse.