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Soul Food

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Album Review

On Soul Food, Jack Oblivian, Eric Oblivian, and Greg Oblivian trade off on guitars and drums (no bass) in a 30-minute album of guitar chicken scratching with bent note solos, some church organ, spitting vocals, and thud-and-crash drumming. The songs are delivered like a fire-and-brimstone preacher who dabbles as Mr. Hyde on weekends, full of spirit and depravity. Few bands sound as possessed by the belief in the power of rock & roll. Like similarly veined groups the Cramps, Tav Falco, and the Gories, the Oblivians often sound deranged in their preservation of the raw shaking beat of pre-Elvis manic and dark blues. The Oblivians honor the same canon of musicians, opening the record with a stomping cover of Lightnin' Hopkins' "Vietnam Blues." A legacy to the past is established but the party has just begun. The lonely screaming anthem "No Reason to Live" elicits both sympathy and a pumping fist in the listener. No one wants Greg Oblivian to end it all, but it sure is fun to bomp around to this track. Testimonials of faith in the culture and music that they love continue in "Never Change" and "Static Party." "Sunday, You Need Love" and "And Then I F****d Her" would have some people looking for dust on the needle if it wasn't a CD. The bare-bones live production heightens the urgency; the Oblivians are desperate to get these songs off their souls. The Oblivians ignore the speed, grunge, and artsy angles bands pass off as the next stage of rock. They are dedicated to a sound: "Never Change" declares, "Like a broken record/I play the same sad song." Production and perfect playing are overrated; Soul Food's greatness is found in emotion and devotion.

Biography

Formed: 1993 in Memphis, TN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s

Scaring the country folks of Memphis with their brand of sleazy raunch & roll since their 1995 debut album, Soul Food, the Oblivians refuse to mold into the stereotype of three-piece ensembles sounding "wimpy" or "watered down." Instead, the Oblivians pay tribute to the Ramones, the Sonics, and the Stooges by creating their own sound of nostalgic '60s garage punk with their use of lo-fi equipment. Following Soul Food, the next year brought a live studio collection entitled Sympathy Sessions and...
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