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CD REVIEW: The Beefeater Project - Lo-Fi Resurrection of the American Underground
By Chip Withrow - 12/18/2006 - 02:51 PM EST

Artist: The Beefeater Project
Album: Lo-Fi Resurrection of the American Underground
CD Review: Maybe this means I’m getting old, but when I saw this disc contains a song called “Dead Motherf---er” I didn’t think I’d like it.

But the Beefeater Project’s Lo-Fi Resurrection of the American Underground is very cool. The Oklahoma City duo of Dean Avants and J.B. Sullivan, with help from friends, careens between acoustic Americana and snarling, foreboding rock noise.

I hear hints of Soundgarden, Velvet Underground, early REM, reverbed-out surf music, the Rolling Stones’ menacing blues, and Bakersfield twang. And it turns out I like “Dead Motherf---er” (it's not one of the heavy ones, either).

The opening number, “Race of the Rats” is more metallic than my everyday listening tastes, but the guitars - percussive rhythm and echoey lead - are hypnotic. “Kansas City Style” is pretty heavy too – with insanely distorted vocals and screams, but also built around a wickedly clever guitar hook. Rhodes piano gives the song ‘60s blues-rock flavor.

“Broken Man” is a more acoustic version of the “Rats” vibe, with droning, raga-like guitar and vocals that make me feel all trippy. “Life Is So Cruel” has an over-the-top anti-war message (I’m always a fan of that) and tribal percussion.

“Somewhere Unimportant” is darn close to my perfect country song: catchy yet unusual, rich with traditional picking and wistful, tremeloed harmonies. “Don’t Wanna Get Drunk Anymore” starts as a country weeper (“Nothing in this bottle except the emptiness of you”) with Avants firing off pedal steel licks the way Mick Taylor did for the Stones. It ends oddly yet grandly with drums and horns.

“Salty Dog” is like three or four songs in one – percussive pop, psychedelic and carnivalesque, a too-brief soulful sax interlude.

I admire albums like Lo-Fi Resurrection – ambitious (sometimes overly so), experimental yet seemingly influenced by other adventurous artists. And, oh yeah … with enough hooks to be memorable.

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