Haunted George - American Crow

by Rich Morris Rating:7 Release Date:2010-05-10

The Nevada desert. Cattle mutilations. Weird-eyed rednecks with serious calcium deficiencies. Backwoods voodoo ceremonies involving goat's blood and incest. It's worth picturing these things while listening to the music of Haunted George. You know, just so you really feel the benefit. As you would expect from a man who used to ply his trade in a band called The Necessary Evils, Steve Pallow aka Haunted George does not make the kind of music Keane are likely to draw on for inspiration. Instead, what you get on American Crow is 15 tracks of gloriously lo-fi, Death Valley roamin', hillbilly baitin', red-eyed rock'n'roll, taking the raw components of The Stooges, Captain Beefheart, Dr Feelgood and the incoherent rantings of a booze-saturated tramp and calling them things like' Hit You with My Hammer' (total lyric: "I'm going to hit you with my hammer"), 'Weeks in a Casket' and - most wonderfully - 'Shed of Doom'.

It all rattles along like bones clattering on a tin can, with some slower but no less unhinged moments like 'Buzzards Ate His Flesh' to break up the gonzo pace. Every time things get a little too repetitive, another hellish swarm of guitar noise descends to distract and bludgeon the listener into stupefied submission in the best possible way. Best of all, everything about American Crow sounds completely authentic to these Anglo ears. I completely believe this was recorded by ex-Manson Family members high on mind-deranging drugs living in a tin shack surrounded by animal skulls on pikes somewhere close to an abandoned nuclear testing site. Fuck Kings of Leon, this is the kind of Americana we want to hear.

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