Friday, December 12, 2008

Strawfoot, Chasing Locusts

Sometimes--not often, but sometimes--not often, but sometimes--I hear an album and think, hey--this was recorded for the specific purpose of appealing to my personal tastes! Get out of my head, you opportunistic fiends!

Still, as long as they've recorded it, I guess I might as well enjoy it.

Frantic, backwoods, gothic country is the name of the game here. As you might expect, the band's name comes from 16 Horsepower's song of the same name (which in term comes from the "hay foot, straw foot" military cadence), and 16 HP fans should feel right at home here. Truth be told, though, they only sound like their inspiration in a fairly superficial way. For one thing, they're a lot more country-oriented; while 16 HP tended to rock out a lot, Strawfoot mostly performs in a more traditional country idiom, albeit in a fairly ferocious way.

The other difference is more fundamental. A lot of people assume that all that hellfire and damnation, sinners-in-the-hands-of-an-angry god stuff that 16 Horsepower does is just funnin' around, but this is an incorrect assumption: David Eugene Edmunds is a Christian fundamentalist who absolutely believes in what he's singing, even if he's mellowed a bit with his Woven Hand material.

Strawfoot, on the other hand, obviously IS just having fun with the theatricality of kind of belief system. That's not a bad thing, though. They revel in it, and with great effect. Singer Marcus Eder's somewhat effected-sounding twang is a far cry from Edmunds' Robert Smith-like wailing, but it does the job. You would never have seen Edmunds and company doing a noir murder ballad like "Cursed Neck," because that would have been rather beside the point. Here it's exactly the point, and it's a lot of fun.

Not every song is perfect, but Strawfoot really does tap into their chosen idiom very effectively. "Strawfoot Waltz," "Fiddle and Jug," and "Effigy" really do sound like the end of the world itself, and the lugubrious versions of "Wayfaring Stranger" that bookend the album put the general hopefulness of the song very much in doubt. In these circumstances, it's almost hard to trust an apparently light-hearted, fiddle-heavy song like "My Dog," which comes as an entertaining respite from all the general darkness.

When I write that it sounds like this album was recorded with me specifically in mind, I hope this isn't literally the case, but sometimes it sort of feels like it, based on the band's level of exposure. Obviously there are plenty of talented bands that never hit it big, but I've got to tell you, people, I really, really, REALLY want to hear more of Strawfoot, so if they don't catch on because of your sinful apathy...well, you'd better be prepared to face the consequences, earthly and otherwise. Don't say I didn't warn you.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous pontificated to the effect that...

I love Strawfoot! I've seen them live so many times, and I'm telling you, they are an incredible band live. if you ever have the opportunity, you must see them play live. (and it's Fiddle and Jug, not Whistle and Jug :)

9:30 PM  
Blogger GeoX pontificated to the effect that...

I bleeding well know it's "fiddle." I have no idea where "whistle" came from.

Anyway, if you're a fan, it may be interested to know that, according to an email I received from the Reverend Marcus, they're set to begin recording a new album in early 2009.

12:06 AM  
Blogger straw pontificated to the effect that...

Howdy, Rev here...just wanted to let you know you can help expedite our recording process by going here: http://www.alivemag.com/emergingartist/index.php

and voting for us...if we win, we'll get a sweet recording package that will allow us to make the album we really want to make...

We appreciate your ears and support...

go in peace, pass the bottle...!

--Rev. Marcus

10:18 AM  

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