Friday, 11 March 2016

Shooter Jennings - Countach, album review

Playful Fisticuffs

Not the in-your-face display of the outlaw, though opening track Loading does ironically, and cryptically, evoke its essence with the lyric someone called us outlaws in some old magazine, already suggesting a distancing, before the track morphs into the 80s electronica of title song Countach, an instrumental that begins the first full homage to Giorgio Moroder when this too segues into the next and third From Here to Eternity, any outlaw or other Country sounds buried beneath its swath of pumping beats, swirling synth and echoing vocal.

It is playful if faithful. It’s not until fifth Born to Die featuring Steve Young that Country fights back, a generic sound hitting with fiddle in the mix, then this also shifts halfway through to a pop middle, bouncing back again to end as it began. Next Chase features Richard Garriott De Cayeux who is, apparently, a computer games expert/guru also going under the names Lord British and General British and this is electronica with spoken voice – his I’m guessing – where the impact would be for those brought up in the 80s and playing his games.

Next Love Kills is rather insipid for me, and this is really only a reflection of my long-standing antipathy for most of the musical 80s. Penultimate track The Neverending Story features Brandi Carlile and is sweet enough, its literal twinkling indicative of both title and Moroder, the later classical violin more Giorgio, and the album closes on an assist from Marilyn Manson with Cat People, another outlaw confusing the whole where I’m not entirely sure what the intention has been. For me, this is probably the strongest song, its vocal growl and pretty violin serving up a different but more effective kind of contrast. 

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