Electronics, that incorrigible collaboration between Cock E.S.P.'s
Emil "Viper" Hagstrom and Rotten Piece's Shaun "The Creep" Kelly,
has put together this caustic dual-release
with a winking eye for P.E. madness. The first half is a
collection of country 'covers,' the second a sort of family album
designed to imbue children with good manners and such.
The twenty-six second opener, "Don't
Mess With U.S. Truckers," sets the tone nicely -- grating feedback is
established, over which frantic, gasping vocals hammer out the
thesis: "Don't mess with U.S. truckers/Don't mess with U.S.
truckers/Or you'll wind up underneath eighteen Goddamn wheels/Aaaughghgugh!"
What follows are more delicious power-electronics renditions of
classics like Dolly Parton's "Jolene," Hank Williams'
"Hey Good Lookin'", and John Denver's "Country Roads." One of my personal
favourites - "Wichita Linesman" - is also taken for a whirl, though
its blissful melody is astutely indecipherable (read: omitted in favour of
feedback and yelling).
But if mangled country anthems aren't
your thing -- and, really, they should be -- look no further than the
disc's second half, which is intended for moms, dads, and children
alike. The family fun begins with a clever
take on a familiar
Whitehouse classic in "You Have To Say Please," whose riotous high
point pledges: "You have to ask nicely!!!" The fun continues in a
cavalcade of electronic noise and manic, dictatorial yelling -- e.g.
"Never Talk to Strangers" (concluding line: "Never let them touch
your private places!"), "I'm Coming to Your School," and the
hideously abrasive "Look Both Ways". But the unparalleled highlight of
the record is the flatly evocative "Sharemaster," a narrative by
its titular creature who devotes his entire persona to espousing the
virtues of generosity and altruism.
Sure, Country Classics' enjoyment
factor stems from one lengthy ironic joke, but the disc's
lasting appeal is achieved
via stellar execution. I know 90% of my (asshole) friends
cringe when I so much as deign to start this sucker up on the
stereo, but anyone who can appreciate the embers of humour inherent
in inane children's music, sincere country songs, and
all-too-serious power-electronics should derive many a chuckle from
this beast of a record.