TH’ LEGENDARY SHACK*SHAKERS > Swampblood

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Marking the final installment of it’s Tentshow Trilogy, bandleader Colonel J.D. Wilkes unleashes a bizarre blues- and bluegrass-fueled hallucination of the South with Swampblood, an off-kilter portrait of a rotting, morbid world where no one trusts the guy with an education, murder’s around the dead tree-lined corner,Label: YEP ROC
[RATING: 3 ]

Marking the final installment of it’s Tentshow Trilogy, bandleader Colonel J.D. Wilkes unleashes a bizarre blues- and bluegrass-fueled hallucination of the South with Swampblood, an off-kilter portrait of a rotting, morbid world where no one trusts the guy with an education, murder’s around the dead tree-lined corner, and God and the Devil may be one in the same. Diving so deep into a warped vision of ethnic subculture, the disc occasionally feels like-go out on a limb with me here-a Southern-fried answer to Oingo Boingo’s 1985 Dead Man’s Party album (particularly on tracks like “Down And Out”), finding both sets obsessed with death and dying, moral quandaries and the decay of the soul. While the performances are occasionally overtaken by the production-lots of vocal treatments and atmospheric delays-it all serves the dark mood, alternately creepy and inviting, created by the lyrics. Luckily, just when things get overbearing, along comes “Preachin’ at Traffic,” with smart, telling, funny lines like, “Who needs cable when you got cicadas?/I dream in sepia, mono and Beta.” That pretty much sums up the entire cast of characters in Swampblood, and while you might not want to visit them that often, there’s no denying they inhabit one of the strangest and thoroughly drawn concept albums of recent times.


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