Sunday, April 19, 2015

Album Review: The Sideshow Tragedy - Stream "Capital" There's A Riot Going On

We all listen to music for a myriad of reasons. It is an art form that might be the most primal. The impact of two objects creating percussive cadence and the random hum in one's head that materializes into a discernible melody is as natural as the earth and sky. As the
primitives acquired speech (and well before the first song structure came to be) I imagine that the percussive impact of stick to rock first accompanied the raised patterned rhetoric of the rabble rouser.

The Sideshow Tragedy, a two piece blues garage rock outfit out of Austin Texas, are about to drop their fifth album, Capital, on May 5th. Apart from the devastatingly deep grooves that resonator guitarist / frontman Nathan Singleton and drummer Jeremy Harrell cut in this record it maybe the stories that draw the most blood. Singleton has vocal pipes a plenty filled with scarred desperation. He is doing provocateur rock, high on a soap box or pulpit telling stories and asking questions about heavy issues. When the down home porch rock of The Winning Side falls face first into a fierce bombastic battle of sounds it is an exhilarating and confrontational push and pull, a moral play about playing for the winning team (social or politically speaking) instead of the moral one. The production feels as alive as a student protest on the verge of a riot.

Two Guns pumps like a piston fueled by slide guitar, hand claps and drum explosions that highlight Singleton's red faced diatribe about real life Devils, war crimes, drones and our apathy about them. It is a tightfisted rock hymnal and the choir erupts at the end. If there is a sonic respite from the heaviness it is Animal Song. It is mid-tempo and lush in it's urgency. The multilayered vocals add a sense of family, a sense of hope to the casual engaging melodies. Keys To The Kingdom is so formidable in it's rock stance forward movement that it feels as anthemic as a big rock stadium early U2 battle cry song.

While Capitol may not serve answers to the provocative questions it stirs up, it at least does a lot of stirring. This is thinking man and woman's rock and the injustice, social inequity, moral decay that lives and dies in the lyrics feels like old ancient tattoo's that fade slowly over time until we care not to see them. Sideshow Tragedy is fighting the good fight and the last track Plow is a stark bare cascading lineage of the haves and have nots (morally speaking) and of cold false promises. The final lines "and you will die pushing that plow" feels (to me) like a downer although a memorable one. Maybe I wanted those plowshares to be beaten into swords.

We all listen to music for a myriad of reasons. Capital by Sideshow Tragedy has an emotional gravitas forged out of historic injustices. Within it's bad ass and big garage rock framework it contains 9 tracks full of morality plays, of scarred poetry inspired by real events. It feels like rabble rouser rock and if it inspires anyone to become more socially or politically aware or involved it has done it's job. Good job guys.

Old Soul Records releases Capitol stateside and CRS (Continental Record Services) in Europe on May 5th, 2015. You can stream the album below and check out a live performance of Two Guns.


Stream Capital:


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