Country Teasers The Empire Strikes Back

For 13 years now, Scotland’s Country Teasers have remained only a blip on most radars despite releasing eight records of deliciously vitriolic, country-tinged, lo-fi rock. They definitely aren’t for everybody, but there’s a certain irrepressible love I have for these disgruntled Scots. Nihilistic front-man Ben Wallers and his stream of consciousness lyrics often come off sounding like he has Tourette’s and just can’t control his urge to mutter the most odious or incomprehensible thought in his head. He’s like Mark E. Smith without the goblin face and the ambiguous wordplay. Recorded in a proper studio for once, The Empire Strikes Back will most certainly be misunderstood by the wrong person, which if it’s actually heard, will likely be many wrong people. According to the mini essay on the back sleeve, this is a commentary on race and racism in Britain circa the 1970s, which could be one of the most pointless observational records ever made, but the Teasers seem almost serious this time. Despite Wallers’ best attempt at using satire to try and get some kind of point across, Empire doesn’t exactly work the way he wants it to. His absurd approach to giving us food for thought by adopting the persona of a bigot yelling to shoot the "queers, jews and coons” feels way too harsh — especially as it is supported by such incensed music. If he wasn’t always so vicious with his songwriting maybe he could get the attention he strives for, but in this context he’s really only creating more of a divide for his band. PC practitioners keep away; this is purely for people with a high tolerance threshold who like their satire with a heaping spoonful of salt. (In The Red)