by: Doc Jeffurious Higgason
Band: Goth Brooks
Album: Moonshine and Mascara
Rating: 2 or 3 or 4 outta 5 (I hate this rating crap.)
The complicated aspect of how things change over time are sometimes only realized when expressed in the simplest of truths.
About ten years ago on the 4th of July I was visiting the town where I grew up in the rural parts of Southern Illinois. We were there to catch some fireworks at the park and to eat one of those funnel cakes.
Obviously because I had been gone for a couple years I came back to a town a bit different but in wide reaching corners. As my wife and I pushed our way through the crowd we ran into Tim Stine, an old pal of mine from high school. As he and I were pouring over the details of what we were currently doing for work, we started talking about the shifting culture of the town. He said something along the lines of “Yeah, it’s weird to come out here and see all the Goth girls hitting on the Rednecks.” The juxtaposition of both those elements made me laugh out loud and the point was rigidly driven home. Little did I know there were weirder times ahead for our muddled refinements. Alan Jackson replacing Robert Smith in The Cure fell to the bottom of my expectations list and time went on. But…I had most arrogantly forgotten about the notion of ‘Rap-Metal/Rock’, a major mistake on my part. The reward for my oversight came recently in the form of ‘Moonshine and Mascara’, the debut album by the industrial-country band ‘Goth Brooks’.
This offering right out the gate (YEE HAW!) is as upsetting, beguiling and lovely as a herd of drunk and horny cattle making their way into the mosh pit at a Marilyn Manson concert. Springing from the darkest home on the range…eh hmm! Phoenix Arizona. This mash up band consists of Mike Lee on country vocals, “Werm” Jonah Foree screaming out the gloom and “3pac” Xian Austin holding them all together with some tasty danceable drums. They have dared to answer my deepest, darkest question of “What if?” When I was first handed this assignment by Mr. Kidman at ‘Gonzo Today’ I really wanted to hate it and in ways I suppose I do. The nature of a true Gen X old fart is to apply skepticism first as your main filter to reality. (We’re not impressed.) But we are also known to recognize originality and tongue-in-cheek wit. Who remembers that first smile you got when listening to ‘GWAR’ or ‘Green Jello’ or ‘Ace of Base’? Exactly, maintain an open mind.
The whole trouble kicks off with the majestic cadences of ‘Motherf**kers From Hell’. It reminded slightly of an anthem for a bad guy wrestler walking into the ring during a three dollar match. You can almost smell the odor of vinyl mats and a blend of armpit odor. A real victory jaunt across the landscape of pain and torture, all to sampled bits of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s ‘Fishing In The Dark’. It embraces thematic elements of what it’s like to have the darkened heart of a cowhand who really doesn’t give a “toss”.
“Ghost riding, gun fighting, cattle driving, motherf**kers from hell.”
The poignant stories told during ‘Achy Breaky Twerkin’ relate to the listener the struggles of stripping for cash in provincial America. “Mullets just don’t age like wine.” If you have never sat in attendance in a dive “bikini bar” called ‘The School House’ located in a town of less than fifty people or travelled over to the local Elk’s Club to catch the “Man Muffins Revue”, you’ll never get it.
The strongest point of the whole album is the third track ‘She Thinks My Hearse Is Sexy’. Within this song there are artfully assembled pieces of Ennio Morricone, floating ghosts of the Revolting Cocks and greasy slabs of neo-country beefcake Tim McGraw. The simple repetitiveness can make you understand why this track would be a favorite for the gloriously unwashed and their grease painted counterparts in the haze of a small town bar. Hopefully it lands on the radio in full saturated rotation because this is what we truly deserve in this moment of human existence. Something to truly reflect the confusion of living within this current multiverse reality but, you know, a toe tapper? Have we truly taken music to it most outer limits? Will it begin to go backwards now? Upon further reflection could ‘Goth Brooks’ be the very pinnacle of musical achievement?
In fact all of these songs qualify for the playlist for all strip clubs. Not only do they qualify I think they should be mandatory. It also qualifies to go good with bong time with your friends. It truly is dark fun. When asked I would say this epic first release is truly original. In that, I have listened to it several times rocked my ass off and enjoyed some sinister giggles. But I still really don’t know if I should be laughing. Which is the true beauty of it. Perhaps, these guys will prove that at the absolute limits of the progression of music instead of rolling backwards we can always shift sideways. No one ever said it was supposed to be a straight line anyway.