Release Date: Sep 16, 2008
Record label: Razor & Tie
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Athens, Ga. , upstarts deconstruct Nirvana for the 21st centuryAn event sure to make any alumnus of the flannel revolution of ’91 feel a little old, Nirvana has undeniably passed into the classic-rock lexicon. But where they were once aped by a generation of bands that sprung up overnight with screechy-voiced frontmen and fuzz pedals, now their music is being strip-mined and reconfigured with other classic-rock references, leaving Dead Confederate in a position to create a viscerally imagined (if obviously indebted) hybrid on its full-length debut.
There isn’t much to dislike about Dead Confederate in principle. Their quiet-loud-quiet to-ing and fro-ing (insert Nirvana comparison here) is precise and stimulating. Hardy Morris’ whiskey-soaked howls are dizzyingly reckless. Their stormy slide guitars sear with self-abuse. So why is it that ….
Dead Confederate mine a mix of haunting Southern rock and angst-driven grunge on Wrecking Ball, the band's debut album. At its best, Wrecking Ball mires itself in a swamp of spacy guitars and raw vocals, evoking the deep-space atmospherics of Pink Floyd while remaining rooted in the American South. At its worst, the album dives into the same heavy sludge that dominated Silverchair's early work, especially on tracks like "Heavy Petting." Wrecking Ball is a dark, angry affair filled with minor chords and fuzzy guitar riffs; its biggest asset, then, is the band's contrasting love for vintage stoner rock.
When the members of Dead Confederate got together in 1997, it was as a jam band called Redbelly, playing 30-minute songs that hovered between Neil Young and Pink Floyd. A couple of name changes later, the Athens, Ga., group has shoved aside its old, free-floating post-psych for the barbed, bruising Southern grunge of Wrecking Ball. There’s no shortage of calculation in the transition, especially in Dead Confederate’s unwavering devotion to Nirvana, but for all its familiarity, this debut is absolutely merciless.