Album Reviews

Waco Brothers

Going Down in History

Artist:     Waco Brothers

Album:     Going Down in History

Label:     Bloodshot Records

Release Date:     02/26/2016


After a dozen albums or so, you’d think that the Waco Brothers would have earned more respect. On the other hand, being the essential insurgents that they are, respect isn’t necessarily their highest priority. Happily then, the ironically titled Going Down In History finds the band still doing what they’ve always done best, that is, making a mighty racket and turning in a set of songs that equate to a raucous rampage of guitars, growls and an ongoing blend of angst and anger.

That said, there’s some sense to be made in this latest outing, particularly in the songs that find them emulating others. The assertive stomper entitled “Lucky Fool” for example, sounds like something akin to a Thin Lizzy outtake, demonstrating the fact that the boys are not only back in town, but, in fact, they’ve never really left. The tangled “Receiver” is wholly unhinged, but its Bo Diddley beat manages to keep the proceedings on track. A surprise cover of the Small Faces’ early classic “All Or Nothing” shows them offering due respect to their influences, a tack they’d be well advised to try more often.

This wealth of references isn’t entirely unexpected, however. The Wacos have always had a degree of fluidity in their roster, counting Jon Langford of the Mekons among their number, which in turn allows various members to switch hit for Langford’s other outfit, The Pine Valley Cosmonauts. Still, there’s also something to be said for their devotion to duty, and the fact that respectability has never been in the offing. They remain true punk provocateurs, and this album, as much as any of the others in their back catalogue, demonstrates the fact they’re not about to ease up any time soon. As the title track itself declares, surrender is not in the cards. Neither is acceptability. Defiance has rarely been so determined.

—Lee Zimmerman


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