CHAIN AND THE GANG - Down with liberty... up with chains LP
2021 SOUNDS OF SUBTERRANIA reissue.
The 2009 debut album from the chain gang led by Ian Svenonius (Nation of
Ulysses, The Make-Up, Weird War) is a masterpiece of primitivism. From
dazzling set pieces of R&B and rock'n'roll, the band forms highly
melodic songs full of call-and-response chants ("What Is A Dollar"), or
invites you to take a walk through the cemetery ("Cemetry Map"), which
sounds so spooky as if voodoo master Dr. John had thought it up.
Sometimes Svenonius just grabs a wooden guitar to make fun of conspiracy
theories like in "Deathbed Confessions": "I faked the moon landing, I
saved Hitler's brain. Yeah, it's in Argentina but it controls the USA."
Calvin Johnson produced the album at his Dub Narcotic studio and also
did a bit of background vocals. The beat lurches and sways as
confidently and surely as an old sea dog's gait in a breeze of
doppelkorn. The somewhat odd album title is explained by the always
conceptually thinking singer as follows: "Everywhere freedom goes, it
leaves a path of destruction. Fast food, bad architecture, materialism,
unbridled greed, destroyed environment, imperial conquests, class
struggle; combined, these phenomena are seemingly synonymous with
freedom." When big words often hide only capitalist greed and
imperialist war, Svenonius & Co. prefer to slip into the role of
dissidents. "Ian Svenonius is an inadvertent pioneer. His career has
been a studied attempt to advance the history of punk rock, using
influences as tools to build with rather than styles to flaunt and
discard." - The Wire
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