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Jeff Walker und die Fluffers - Welcome to Carcass Cuntry

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Artist: Jeff Walker und die Fluffers

Album: Welcome to Carcass Cuntry

Label: Fractured Transmitter

Review date: Aug. 6, 2006

Oh, the plight of the ex-grindcore artiste. So you've already established a personal record for speed and brutality that in all likelihood, can be repeated but not topped. So what's next? You want to progress toward some new level of extremity, but that speed-picked, detuned guitar/blast-beat/gurgling vocal formula just ain't gonna scratch the itch anymore. It's happened before: Mick Harris of Napalm Death eased into ambience with his Scorn and Lull projects, and ex-Regurgitation/Old Lady Drivers guitarist James Plotkin sought a similarly subdued path with OLD and Flux' mid-90s incursions into Neu!-inspired synth-pop territory. So, presumably, have Jeff Walker's motives been inclined (former bassist/vocalist of the genre-defining band Carcass) in stepping out with this certainly unexpected, and kind of demented, solo effort.

That said, Welcome to Carcass Cuntry is not a straight-up country album. Walker, who also produced, drenches these 11 covers of country-western (and a take of Neil Young's "Keep on Rocking in the Free World") with the never-quite-duplicated, loose and sloppy feel of the first two Carcass albums. So, the record sees those familiar detuned guitars, often effected with a half-cocked wah pedal for that extra-nasally sound, lumbering alongside a string section, as in Hank Williams' "I Can't Help it if I'm Still in Love with You," and "The End of the World." When not paying fairly convincing if unintentional debt to the Mekons on these slower numbers, Walker's cast of cohorts (which include former Faith No More bassist Billy Gould, Carcass pals Ken Owen and Bill Steer, and members of H.I.M. and Finnish goregrinders To Separate the Flesh from the Bones) at times infuse the tunes with so much of a personal signature as to nearly obscure their down-home origins. That's not always a bad thing, though – this is, apparently, meant to be a fun record. The New Wave of British Heavy Metal gallop of George Jones' "You're Still On My Mind" is reined back only by a honky-tonk piano straight out of a saloon scene. Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Comin' Down" lurches along like a dirge, and is where Walker's voice – a half-pitched brummie rasp – is most reminiscent of that which emanates from Shane MacGowan's Gaulloises-and-whiskey-ravaged pipes. Indeed, "Mississippi" (a 1975 hit by Dutch act Pussycat) could have been an outtake from MacGowan's Popes, if not for the two-measure blast-beat that leaps suddenly out from the tune's World-Cup hooligan rock romp. "I Just Dropped In" conjures a different take on "The Dude's" hallucinatory free-fall with the buzz of a backwards sitar and a searing, Allman Bros.-worthy solo over a bed of blasting drums. Leaving things on a strangely emotional note prior to the thrash chugging of "Free World" is John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" (here dedicated to the late "Evil" Chuck Schuldiner of Death), wherein Walker pulls back to sing in a higher, cleaner register, actually hitting (most of) those high notes.

Has Walker crossed over into the dreaded realm of novelty act, in much the same way as Pat Boone or Paul Anka have tried to temper their flaccidity with albums of metal and rock covers? Maybe he's expecting, even inviting, talk like that from metal dudes and critics alike: As the buxom cowgirl cartoon in the album art says, "Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke." If anything, his enthusiasm and reverence for the material is evident. And it is a weirdly endearing offering from one of the minds who previously brought us "Vomited Anal Tract."

By Adam MacGregor

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