Folk music aficionados are fond of talking about tradition, about howthe music they play isn’t designed to appeal to the academics and toffs,about how it deals with real life the way it’s been lived for centuriesand the concerns of everyday working folk. In that respect, WinnebagoDeal could well be described as purveyors of the real form of 21stcentury folk music.
Of course you’d be rightly laughed out of the shop if you trydescribing it like that. This is rock music, as you’d expect from a bandwho’ve supported Fugazi, Therapy? and tour-mates MondoGenerator, the Queens Of The Stone Age side-project of which the two Winnebago Deal ladsbecame part (dubbed “Winnebago Generator”).
The guitar, drums and vocalduo make a sterling racket walking a road previously spat on by all mannerof punks and metallers. There’s no artifice, nothing particularly new, nolight and shade, no subtlety and nuance. But then nor does there need tobe; this album bursts in, does its thing and its 14 tracks are gone,barely nudging the 30-minute mark.
In that sense, it follows proudly in the traditions of the late 20thCentury, as you’ll see in pubs across the land. And it’s certainly notmusic for the academics and toffs; it’s Friday night fighting music,sweaty moshpit music, bruising and beery, direct and to the point. Notfor the faint hearted or the overly intellectual; the screams and “I don’tgive a fuck”s may not be rocket science but they are a mission statementof a kind.
It’s a childish one, admittedly – not childish in a ToyStory way so much as in an egg-the-neighbours’-houses way – and aftera while it does get a bit tiring, even with so short an album. Thereisn’t a great deal of variety going on, between mid-tempo pop metal andhigh-speed pop metal, and it feels like Rage Against The Machine‘sdebut in that the first four or five tracks are great but the rest startsto get dull, no matter what order you listen to the tracks in.
Though there are highs and lows. The bookends of Heart Attack In MyHead and Can’t See, Don’t Care, Don’t Know are high points, with thelatter standing above the rest in lyrics and in the dynamic build drivenby the rising guitar, and it feels more like a song than the shortsketches elsewhere. Ain’t No Salvation and Frostbiter dwell in theterritory colonised by Cradle Of Filth where metal meets polka,conjuring images of cossacks with tattoos and leathers. There are bits ofAC/DC lurking and there’s definitely a hint of Status Quo inthe backing of title track Career Suicide, and nearly a sing-along chorusor two in I Want Your Blood and Avalanche, the latter being a potentialpop-punk anthem in the making.
If you like your drums chugging, your guitars riff-heavy, your swearingcasual and your vocals belted in a baritone rasp, this could well be therecord for you. If not, well, you probably weren’t going anywhere nearthis anyway, were you. If you’re unsure, it’s definitely worth a punt. Atthe very least it’s over quickly.