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Freedom and Weep

The Waco Brothers

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Album Review

Remember back in 1995, when the Waco Brothers told us "Bad Times (Are Comin' Round Again)" on their first album? Who ever knew they would be so right? Maybe we all thought things looked grim under the rule of "Bill the Cowboy" back in the day, but six years of "Dubya" can go a long way towards changing someone's perspective, and kicking up your heels isn't as easy as it used to be. Jon Langford and his fellow Waco Brothers seem to know it, and Freedom and Weep, the group's seventh album, is a bit less twangy and a bit less rambunctious than the band's best work, though if you think that means the band is losing sight of their rage, you'd be wrong. Freedom and Weep is a full-bodied but bitter chronicle of living in an America that more than ever resembles Phil Ochs' description of a nation that's become "two Mack trucks colliding on a superhighway because all the drivers are on amphetamines." With tougher rock, tighter performances, and a bit less mournful steel than one might expect (don't worry, it hasn't gone away, it's just less prominent), Freedom and Weep rants against working class poverty ("Nothing at All"), ugly Americanism ("Rest of the World"), conspicuous consumption ("Lincoln Town Car"), and the president of the United States ("Chosen One"), while the less polemical numbers still speak of a time and place where confusion reigns and desperation is just as real as the beer in your refrigerator. Freedom and Weep isn't quite a top-shelf Waco Brothers album, but it's an appropriate one for America in the year 2005, and if there's a good share of bitter futility in these songs, there's also a liberating rage, and if this once-great land is at the point of collapse, the Waco Brothers are here to, at the very least, see that the folks who still care go down swinging.

Customer Reviews

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Biography

Formed: Chicago, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Waco Brothers are one of many projects spearheaded by Jon Langford, the frontman of the seminal British punk band the Mekons. An alternative country outfit based in Langford's adopted home of Chicago, Waco Brothers' approach grew out of mid-'80s Mekons records like Fear and Whiskey and The Mekons Honky Tonkin', which explored the group's interest in roots music. After the Mekons eventually returned to a more straightforward, punk-flavored sound, Waco Brothers emerged over a decade later as a vehicle...
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Freedom and Weep, The Waco Brothers
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