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Swingin Utters | Dead Flowers Bottles Bluegras | review | punk | Lollipop
Dead Flowers, Bottles, Bluegrass (Fat)
by Morgan Coe
Dead flowers, bottles, and bones, I get it - all three are staple clichés of the post-Pogues "street punk" scene. But bluegrass? As in Bill Monroe tearing down the Grand Ole Opry with "Muleskinner Blues," or Earl Scruggs blasting through "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" on the banjo? Let me make one thing perfectly clear: The Swingin' Utters are about as far from bluegrass as it gets. Bluegrass is one of the few indigenous American musical idioms and has deep roots in country, jazz, western swing, and Appalachian folk song; the Utters are a cross between Rancid and early Bad Religion. If you've ever wondered what would happen if Tim Armstrong took singing lessons and covered "No Control," Dead Flowers is your answer.
"But what about their country roots," you say. "What about the accordion?" Right. In between the thirteen generic Cali-punk tracks on this record, you'll find four acoustic numbers intended to show that the band's "roots" go deeper than lifting Gregg Graffin solos and paraphrasing Social D lyrics. But here's the thing: Instead of getting in touch with their inner Louvin Brothers and letting the bluegrass fly, the Utters settle for cranking out rote variations on the funny acoustic song from every NOFX record, minus the funny. Ultimately, the Swingin' Utters' "rootsy" side is just as slick and empty as their "rockin'" side... one man's rhinestone cowboy is another man's mall punk.
p.s. Blag Dahlia, who produced this record, is fired from the Dwarves, effective immediately.
(PO Box 193690 San Francisco, CA 94119)