Album Reviews

Winnebago Deal – Career Suicide

(Cargo) UK release date: 15 November 2010

Winnebago Deal - Career Suicide Folk music aficionados are fond of talking about tradition, about how the 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 centuries and the concerns of everyday working folk. In that respect, Winnebago Deal could well be described as purveyors of the real form of 21st century folk music.

Of course you’d be rightly laughed out of the shop if you try describing it like that. This is rock music, as you’d expect from a band who’ve supported Fugazi, Therapy? and tour-mates Mondo Generator, the Queens Of The Stone Age side-project of which the two Winnebago Deal lads became part (dubbed “Winnebago Generator”).

The guitar, drums and vocal duo make a sterling racket walking a road previously spat on by all manner of punks and metallers. There’s no artifice, nothing particularly new, no light and shade, no subtlety and nuance. But then nor does there need to be; 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 20th Century, as you’ll see in pubs across the land. And it’s certainly not music for the academics and toffs; it’s Friday night fighting music, sweaty moshpit music, bruising and beery, direct and to the point. Not for the faint hearted or the overly intellectual; the screams and “I don’t give a fuck”s may not be rocket science but they are a mission statement of a kind.

It’s a childish one, admittedly – not childish in a Toy Story way so much as in an egg-the-neighbours’-houses way – and after a while it does get a bit tiring, even with so short an album. There isn’t a great deal of variety going on, between mid-tempo pop metal and high-speed pop metal, and it feels like Rage Against The Machine‘s debut in that the first four or five tracks are great but the rest starts to get dull, no matter what order you listen to the tracks in.

Though there are highs and lows. The bookends of Heart Attack In My Head and Can’t See, Don’t Care, Don’t Know are high points, with the latter standing above the rest in lyrics and in the dynamic build driven by the rising guitar, and it feels more like a song than the short sketches elsewhere. Ain’t No Salvation and Frostbiter dwell in the territory colonised by Cradle Of Filth where metal meets polka, conjuring images of cossacks with tattoos and leathers. There are bits of AC/DC lurking and there’s definitely a hint of Status Quo in the backing of title track Career Suicide, and nearly a sing-along chorus or two in I Want Your Blood and Avalanche, the latter being a potential pop-punk anthem in the making.

If you like your drums chugging, your guitars riff-heavy, your swearing casual and your vocals belted in a baritone rasp, this could well be the record for you. If not, well, you probably weren’t going anywhere near this anyway, were you. If you’re unsure, it’s definitely worth a punt. At the very least it’s over quickly.

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