3 out of 5
Label: Salt of the Earth Records
Doug Aubin does a great Iron Lung impression, stirring up the remaining Scissorfight players plus new drummer Rick Orcutt to do a pretty convincing cover version of themselves.
It’s not that this rejiggered version of S-Fight is watered down, but lyrics like “70s boobs were different” put them more squarely in the class of dumb country jock rawk versus the undercurrent of cheek that existed on previous releases, which allowed us to both pump our fists in neighbor-punching fury and laugh at our own stupid macho aggression at the same time. I’m not going to try to defend Mantrapping or other classic SF albums as intelligentsia, but I do think there was a bit more going on under the hood – perhaps look to Iron Lung’s solo, experimental releases as Dead Whale as evidence of that – which in turn seemed to prompt songwriting that felt a bit more jangly and/or (in a good way) jarring. Chaos Country simply doesn’t capture the same zeitgeist, with all of the songs strictly about topics you expect (rock; drugs; booze; sex) and the riffs somewhat tightened up to stay on the full-throttle course. And alas, Orcutt’s keep-the-pace drumming does just that, lacking the menacing flourish Kevin Strongbow would add to things.
It sounds good; it still rocks. But the elements that separated the band from their hard rocking peers are no longer evident, relegating it to an average, country-fied mountain rock experience.