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Athens produces yet another
Southern diamond-in-the-rough

Dead Confederate - Wrecking Ball
(Razor & Tie)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Sept. 11, 2008
Dead Confederate

Review by Tony Bonyata

Athens, GA has long been known as a breeding ground for rock music - spawning influential acts such as REM, The B-52's, Widespread Panic, Matthew Sweet and, more recently, alt-country band Drive-By Truckers. The legacy of "The Liverpool of The South" now continues with the emergence of newcomers Dead Confederate and their raucous full-length debut Wrecking Ball.

On it the Athens quintet deliver a snarling, dynamic, tight-but-loose collection of punch-drunk rock numbers. From the ramshackled opener "Heavy Petting" to the slow burn rock of "The Rat" and "All The Angels" to the pounding rhythm of "Start Me Laughing" it's clear that psychedelia plays a heavy roll in their music. With swirling, dementia-inducing psych-guitars and a pummeling backline Dead Confederate somehow manage to bridge the gap between early '70s Pink Floyd and early '90s post-punk, while also draping it all under a thin layer of Spanish moss - lending just a hint of Southern Gothic tragedy and rural roots reality.

Even when pulling in the reigns for the more melodically-driven ballad such as "The News Underneath" the song eventually morphs into an explosive, apocalyptic ending, while the closing title track is a sparse and harrowing slice of Americana that soon turns into a heavy indie-rock dirge powerful enough to rattle the roof and loosen the floorboards.

With such as exhilarating exercise in melding primal hard rock, hallucinogenic sonics, the sneering passion of punk and a snoot-full of roots rock, Dead Confederate have proven to be one of this year's most eagerly anticipated new acts. And judging from the sounds of this record, their live show must be absolutely electrifying (I know, for one, I'll be plugging in when they hit Mo's Irish Pub in Milwaukee on October 3rd).

Watch Dead Confederate - "The Wrecking Ball" (Tripwire Session)

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