Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Rural Savage / Edward Jecky

Donegal/Galway trio Rural Savage's raucous garage racket is infused with a surreal oddball streak that's reminiscent of Irish eccentrics like Jinx Lennon or Sultans Of Ping. It's not so much the music - which ranges from punk pop (with the emphasis on punk) to frenetic hardcore-tinged numbers to weird little vignettes - but more the parochial lyrical asides and general air of snotty outsider irreverence. "Sniggering dullards adrift on tides of their own psychic sewage", as the bio goes.

Debut album I Fell In The Bog And Saw God was released last year and went some way - if not all the way - towards capturing the wild, feral energy of their live shows. Tracks like 'College Drop Out' and 'Alcohol' crackle with livewire energy;  fuzz-guitar riffs and unhinged punk vocals backed by a deceptively tight rhythm section. The trio covered some range as well: lowering the tempo on the sneering psych-garage mongrel 'Donegal Acid' and the carnival waltz of 'Righteous Hand of Critical Fury', pushing it right back up with the blistering one-two of 'Dada Taranta' and 'Straight To Hell'.

The odd misstep came with tracks that resembled bland indie-by-numbers ('Skrag Heap') or experiments gone awry ('Male Pattern Blandness'); on the other hand a couple of tracks (including 'Skrag Heap' if my memory isn't letting me down) don't really do justice to their live incarnations: most recently the band played a superb set at Squarehead and So Cow's pre-SXSW Galway gig, one that included some impressive-sounding new material.
Frontman Farren (or Edward Jecky as his moniker may well be) clearly puts thought into his lyrical approach (see this very interesting interview-type article) and it's evident in tracks like the closing number 'Irish Childhood Hex', a sort of gonzo culchie confessional.

Farren has also recently released a solo album of sorts under the aforementioned Edward Jecky moniker, Relax Lads It's Alright. Not a million miles from Rural Savage aesthetic-wise; there are still elements of punk, surf and garage in the mix but a fair few of the tracks feel a bit more sketch-like and rough-around-the-edges. Indeed a couple see him singing in ragged style over blatantly familiar riffs ('Save Me Lord', 'Bad Man Race Car'). As such it feels like more of a mixtape vibe, with the songwriter throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks. The more velcro-like highlights include 'Back to the Aztecs' and 'Saturday Night Fever', the latter of which is a surprisingly pensive number with unnamed female backing vocals. 'Send Me To My Grave', meanwhile, has a sort of spacey, spaghetti-western vibe to it, and 'Tender Terry Feckless' is 'Good Morning, Captain' for bogmen.


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