THE DEXATEENS The Dexateens (Estrus)
The term Stonesy is bandied around the I-94 Bar an awful lot and yours truly is the worst offender. You might say its a lazy way of labelling a band (and as much as we all say we detest labels, we need common terms like them to communicate approximations of our perceptions). Or you could say (as I do) that the Stones are such a touchstone of whats good in rock and roll that most things worthy are sound like them. Like these Alabama boys, The Dexateens.
Maybe its the ragged harmonies from Elliott McPherson and John Smith or the Gram Parsons-derived guitarwork both of them indulge in so well, but a track like Elrod is as Stonesy as anything off Exile. Same goes for the swaggering Shelter or the off-centre Hard Lovin.
But thats only part of the story; a track like Cherry is all leaky, feedback-laden guitars and angry ranting. Hailing from the same circuit as the QuadraJets and the mighty Immortal Lee County Killers (the latter being an outgrowth of the former), The Dextateens describe their sound as Black Flag-meets-Arkansas-skillet rock and whos to argue? It doesnt matter much other than to say its all good.
Apart from appearances on a couple of compilations, this is the first substantial release from The Dexateens who have only been around since 1998. Estrus heard their work and jumped at a chance to sign them. The bakers dozen songs released here was recorded at a variety of local sessions. Tim Kerr, whos somewhat of an in-house producer for the label, twiddled the dials in the final mixdown and added some guitar and piano.
The end result contains some challenging sounds. The Air We Breathe is all buzzing guitars and skeletal arrangements that make it the most out there tune. (So good, its reprised at the end). Bleeding Heart Disease (which this time sounds like Keef and Ronnie, instead of Keef and Mick), Strangle Hold and Cherry vie for title of ballsiest songs on the disc.
The band apparently scratch their collective heads over constant Stones comparisons (they muddled around in their early days, trying to be a cross between the Quadrajets and Black Sabbath, so the story goes). Maybe the common lineage is Delta blues, but heres another reference point the Beasts of Bourbon. OK, its not that precise, but there are shared attributes in some of the Teens more furious and dirtier moments. If youre a fan of the Beasts, I cant see why you wouldnt take to the Dexateens.
Anyway, Estrus has hit the nail on the head (again) with The Dexateens. Theres enough skuzzy energy at work on these 13 songs to make the ride ahead plenty interesting. The Barman
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