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The Workhorse Movement
Songs of the Pioneers
(Roadruner)


The first time I put this disc in the ol' CD player I was bored. I was bored by the music. Later, after getting my cynical mind in a better place (low blood sugar was making me cranky), I started to find it intriguing. The main thing I found interesting with this album is the mix of heavy drums, loud full guitars and a kind of 70's vocal vibe. In fact, after a few listens I started to dig this. It's kind of like Cult meets Beastie Boys meets Helmet meets Foghat. Sound interesting to you? I am pretty hard to impress, but there were some things that did impress me.

The musicianship on Songs of the Pioneers is first rate. Guitarist, Freedom, is right on the money with his work on "Gimme Some Skin." The funky bass line on "Zero" is another highlight. Sure it would be easy to dismiss Workhorse Movement as a Limp Bizkit clone but they are a rock band and there are no damned record scratches to detract from the mission of the album. Sure there are some electronic effects but I think that's more for a psychedelic feel than anything else. "Traffic" is has a rap and a mellow jazzy guitar that is broken up by a real rockin' chorus. The psychedelic grove of "heavy" kind of surprised me. It has a big ol' crunchy guitar chorus too. The evil sounding guitar work on "Beotch" sounds like a Danzig/Cult combo. Frankly the name's a little juvenile and the song doesn't do much else for me. It's one of the clunkers. Same for "Joe Mama," except for it's funky groove. "Motown," however, is a great cut with horns and a real nasty heavy guitar. It's one of the most original sounding songs I've heard in a while, especially from a band in this genre. It's bad ass. In fact I think I'll play it again right now...I'll be right back. Okay, I'm back. "Charlie Don't Surf," is not near as cool as the movie from which it takes its title. It's nothing special. "Cosmic Highway," kind of woke me up after I was being bored with the previous couple songs. It really reminded me of The Cult but, like most latter Cult, it didn't do much for me. "Mother Earth" relies too much on vocal production tricks to try to make it interesting but it falls short. The a funky groove rears it's hear again on "Feel Like Bob Marley." It's a great finish to an uneven album.

I can't wholeheartedly recommend Songs of the Pioneers but I really did like about half of it. The other half of it didn't do enough to keep my Boo Radley-like attention span from jumping away to other things. The best parts are when The Workhorse Movement treads on new ground. They are weakest when they seem less inspired. The guitar recording is stellar. I like a fat guitar sound and this album has it in spades. Inconsistent but promising work from a band that, if they push themselves in new musical directions, we will hear from again.

--Chadbo

Track Listing:
1. Workhorse and Intercourse
2. Keep the Sabbath Dream Alive
3. Livin' Evil
4. Gimme Some Skin
5. Zero
6. Traffic (Featuring Esham)
7. Heavy
8. Beotch
9. Motown
10. Joe Mama
11. Charlie Don't Surf
12. Cosmic Highway
13. Mother Earth
14. Feel Like Bob Marley

 







 


Mike Doughty



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