Savage Mansion – Weird Country
Weird Country is a triumph, and a clear step forward from Savage Mansion
Recorded almost a year ago in London, Weird Country is the second album from Craig Angus and co. The record comes with the option of a pink vinyl, while their restless frontman has taken to donning a black cowboy hat on stage. It’s emblematic of a playful, witty record which urges the listener not to take themselves (or the band) too seriously, while still finding time to tackle some ambitious themes.
Disappointingly, opener Karaoke is one of the weaker tracks on the record. Described by Angus as “an homage to Glasgow, a magical and intoxicating city that captivates and frustrates in equal measure”, it has satisfying oooh-oooh backing vocals and a bar room stomp but it’s more two-and-a-half stars on Trip Advisor than a wild night on Sauchiehall Street.
Much better is the satisfying chug of Taking the Four which sees the band nail a witty Pixies-gone-glam groove. Elsewhere There’s No Time to Waste zips by on livewire energy alone while the title track is a monster guitar workout with chanted vocals that make it sure to be a live fave.
In fact, for a band whose debut loved to trumpet its slacker vibes, one of the strongest facets of Weird Country is the arrangements. These vary from the supremely melodic intertwining guitars of Old Country, a witty indictment of British nationalism told through the tale of a pair of Italian immigrants, through to the melancholic tiptoe of Battlefield Boss Dream.
Monument throws in jaunty piano chords for the brightest two minutes on the album, while closer The International is a warm tribute to the brigades of volunteers who fought for Republican Spain, in the lineage of Manic Street Preachers’ timeless If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next.
Overall Weird Country is a triumph, a clear step forward from the pot and Pavement daydreams of their debut and onwards toward a bright, shining future.
Listen to: The International, Monument