This last visit to the home office had me picking CDs out of a big
pile, and I did most of my picking based on cover art. It's not a
very good way to go about it, but it certainly yields interesting
results to see what sort of things one finds when judging a book entirely
by its cover. The cover art for Omen is pretty freaking awesome.
It's just the two band members sitting in the woods with their hollow-body
electrics. The wooden tops of the guitars jump out at you as the rest
of the image has been highly de-saturated and wrung through a sepia-toned
filter. There's another filter that a friend of mine likes to use
but that I don't know the name of that basically mimics the old trick
of hazing your lens with Vaseline. The picture is a testament to some
of the best Photoshop filters currently available. (The um, raven,
looks a little fake or at least dead, though) I was looking it over
when editor-man said that I'd be disappointed. It looks like it'll
be great, but really it sucks. But, I took it anyway. Hell, I took
a copy of The Pussycat Dolls that day; (under much protest
from my girlfriend) anything was fair game as far as I was concerned!
I'm still not sure what record he listened to. Omen far exceeded
my expectations, even the ones based on the album cover. The production
is pretty lo-fi, and Tim Buck's vocals could've certainly been
mastered a lot better so that he doesn't sound like he's singing from
inside an oil drum. That aside, this is some mighty fine and refined
country music that continues to jam Johnny Cash's middle finger
up the collective ass of that unholy abortion known as "modern
pop country." It ain't much, but from what I've heard now from
the previously unknown Gothic Rangers, they appear to be heralding
a new age of gothic-folk-country. Whatever that is. This album is
different from other gothic country albums in that it feels less like
gothic gone country, and more like country gone gothic. No one in
Slim Cessna's Auto Club looks like they ever had a nickname
like "Bubba", but Tim Buck and Robin Willhite both
look decidedly more proletariat than Jay Munly or Adam Glasseye.
And that should appeal to those who also agree that pop country smokes
a lot of asshole, but don't want any of their hunting buddies to think
that they consort with a bunch of sissy European cheese-eaters like
Omen has a bit of the renegade country spirit, channels some
restless ghosts of an Arkansas still haunted by the War of Northern
Aggression (that's the Civil War for the Yanks out there.), and manages
to be sorrowful and wistful without becoming a weepy country-cliché
parody of itself. Guitars are crisp, rhythms driving, and enough distortion
and reverb is applied to provide just the right measure of rock to
hone the album's edge.
Check out more
e-mail the chief
Like this article?
it to a friend!