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On the back sleeve are several photos of the former R.E.M man and his buddies in the studio, all grey hair and black suited just late middle aged guys having some fun. And that pretty much sums up Buck’s post R.E.M output. He’s not taking it all that seriously. Its absolute no wonder that Buck was never allowed to sing once during R.E.M’s 30 odd year career. His voice is the most horrid gruff bark. On opener ‘Ride That Road’ he sounds like Tom Waits but the music a bar room shambles. The wonderfully titled ‘My Slobbering Decline’ is a slab of churning garage slop, it seems that the musicians are having fun but is the listener?
‘Welcome to the Party’ sounds like what ‘Automatic For the People’ era R.E.M would have sounded like had they not had Michael Stipe...or Mike Mills ...or possibly Bill Berry. A typical revolving chord sequence is joined by bluesy vocal, interrupted by shards of discordant piano.’Gotta Get Out of the House’ is Ramones played by 70 year old men whilst ‘Life is Short’ has one of those eerie guitar figures that you hear on ‘Document’ or ‘Green’ thankfully with Corin Tucker taking over vocals. I wonder, locked up in his New York photography studio, what Michael Stipe thinks of all this? Although he could be a pretentious twat at times it is notable that his left field artistic vision probably stopped R.E.M being a Southern Rock boogie band.
Its an absolute mess of a record with some good bits especially when guest vocalists are used, in particular the spoken word (by Patterson Hood of Drive By Truckers) ‘Southerner’ is a lovely eerie thing with nods towards ‘Country Feedback’ but generally Buck is having a mid-life crisis blast. And good on him, I would too if I was a millionaire with time on my hands.......but you wouldn’t want to listen to it.
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