Wednesday, July 13, 2005
There is an old cliche that, if you don't like the weather in Mississippi, wait a few minutes and it will change. The same could be said for the tracks on GoodmanCOUNTY's excellent new release, "Dead-Ends and Transits," a beautifully weird collection of tunes that range from screeching country to Clash-like stomp with many flavors in between.
When asked if the 12 tracks on Dead-Ends and Transits are "schizophrenic," lead singer Cody Cox laughed and said: "Manic is what we call it. Punk is sort of hard to define, but we're certainly close to it on some songs. We've even had folks compare us to Dinosaur Jr."
While the tracks on the record are not necessarily cohesive, they are inventive and well-executed. At times conjuring the Violent Femmes or even Neil Young, the songs on this record tend to shake things up—a conscious effort on the band's part. Cox grew up on a steady diet of country, but he said: "We wanted this record to be heavier, even if sometimes it was done tongue and cheek. At the time we recorded, all of us in the band were going through some tough times and the studio really became more like a sanctuary. The songs also tended to end up being sort of aggressive because we had played them all live a good bit. We knew what we wanted."
Evidently, the band not only knew what it wanted, but had the time and talent to get it done. The instrumentation—as diverse as cello, Fender Rhodes piano, lap steel, and of course, guitars and organs—are all at well-chosen moments. From the Camper Van Beethoven-like '80s pop of "Crown of Tin" to the Crazy Horse-style "Lonely Boy," each song is well-produced. This record rocks when it needs to, and gets under your skin at other times.
"Dead-Ends and Transits" was recorded at Coolwater Studios in Clinton. Steve Deaton of Buffalo Nickel mixed the record and added some, as the liner notes call it, "evil banjo." Deaton also mastered the disc at his Plow Handle studio in Madison.
GoodmanCOUNTY plays at W.C. Don's Friday night.