Weedeater ‘Jason…The Dragon’ CD/LP 2011
It was with great anticipation that Weedeater’s new album Jason…The Dragon arrived for review. After God Luck and Good Speed, a lot must have been hanging for all interested parties on Weedeater upping the anti by releasing something even bigger, greater and more awe inspiring. Having toured the aforesaid album in Europe two times in as many years, a new release was well overdue. Jason…The Dragon may have been a strange name for the album, and yet all you need to do is adopt the North Carolina drawl and suddenly the once innocent childlike title is transformed into something far more Dixie appropriate. I did chuckle when I realised how accomplished the band have come to achieving sleight of hand word play.
More than any other deep-south band Weedeater manage to infuse their music with their everyday circumstances and their environmental surroundings. I’ve never been to Cape Fear but the band transport you to their swamp surroundings, moss hanging off trees, alligators and cottonmouths writhing through the silt-filled mangroves. Well that’s the impression one is left with, and this certainly encapsulates the drive, the angst and the music made by Dixie, Shep and Keko.
So what is Jason…The Dragon like, well for what it’s worth it’s bloody good, in fact it fuckin fantastic. This album has a dirtier vibe to God Luck…and the nihilistic anguish only goes to accentuate the feeling of toes being lost, shotguns, hanging fast and loose, and the constant crawl of the ape on your back as you look for your next hit. The first track “The Great Unfurling” leaves you with the impression of frustration, being pissed and pissed off, don’t talk shit just fight back. Powerful, direct, massive.
Mancoon, the track the band issued on their MySpace prior to the release is already a lot more familiar to me. What the fuck is a Mancoon, …..don’t even say it all you politically incorrect people out there. Not necessarily the most obvious title I would love to know the thinking behind it. Turning the day into night and life into death thrusts this beauty beneath your nails to rest as graveyard dirt.
This album moves swiftly along, I can only imagine Steve Albini had a problem keeping up with the boys because the recording has spontaneity to it. Turkey Warlock is no exception Again the lyrics are inward looking while the music carves a big fuck you on your chest.
The title track tells the tale of heading home, taking the drugs, finding the weed, slogging the booze down a parched throat, and hating the world while you do it. The riffs are bare, torn between wanting harmony and the ferocious outpouring of wanting something so much harsher. It’s a perfect balance and the groove of the chasing causes you to sway, to turn and bow at the altar of absolute despair these boys have erected for themselves at the side of the open freeway.
Palms and Opium provides an insight into how Dixie must have been feeling when he blew his big toe off with his shotgun. Drugged up and unable to move he penned this little southern country ditty while resting. These short country blues skits provide a rare insight into Dixie and the turning of his cerebral wheels. It reveals a roller coaster ride between kindness and craziness. Palms and Opium may have provided a brief relief but this is soon over with Long Gone. Storming, driving, accelerated, the riff pushes you forward and Dixie’s long strung loooooonnnnnng goonnnnne makes this sound tortured. Images of sleeping on the streets looking for your next hit makes you feel like you have grit in your teeth, insects in your hair. Whilst the smoke billows forth from your nostrils the world seems insane.
Homecoming is probably the weakest song on this album, but I don’t know what it is? The riff hasn’t been taken from the rib of a still breathing dealer, it therefore lacks a certain anguish and as such this last proper song passes by without having an impact. Production on this song also seems to lack the grit of previous songs, compressed the guitar struggles to make itself known. Not sure what was going on with this song but it feels like a filler track. It isn’t all bad though, I love Dixie’s vocals on this…he screams “I Hate You” and you really get the sense that he actually does.
As an outro Whiskey Creek indelibly seals this release as a truly mighty endeavour. Having endured so much in the last year the boys have come home and done good. Is Jason…The Dragon as good as God Luck…well for what it is worth, I think it is better. It moves in a purposeful intent to tear the world apart, to render the frustration and demons felt into music and lyric. The boys are back and this time they mean to do even more business with the lowlife strays that hold safe in shadows and out of shine. If one word were to describe this release it would be stupendous!!!!
Label: Southern Lord
Scribed by: Pete Hamilton-Giles