Country Teasers, Destroy All Human Life

Yancey Strickler

By Yancey Strickler

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

The Country Teasers signed with the Mississippi-based Fat Possum Records for their third full-length, a move that elevated the blood pressure of many Teasers and Hasil Adkins fans. But the Teasers 'stay on the label didn't survive past this album, proof that carpetbagging U.K. art-rockers and New Yorker-profiled neo-blues labels don't truck much after all.

Destroy All Human Life features the Teasers in their first proper studio, and without the tape hiss and four-track fracas, the band slows the pace considerably, alternating primarily between mid- and no-tempo country-tinged balladry. The stirring "David I Hope You Don't Mind" slow-dances around a funeral pyre, and "Come Back Maggy" and "Almost Persuaded" improvise woozy melodies while leaving the rhythm section back at the bar. Yet "Deliverance from Misrule" ranks among the band's greatest "hits," even with its first-and-only-take aesthetic.

Like most of the band's albums, this one errs toward inconsistency: opener "Reynard the Fox" meanders without direction or tune, but the second track, "Golden Apples," is a stone-cold Teaser pleaser as frontman B.R. Wallers 'reverbed vocals lurk low in the mix, haunting the melancholy guitar loops as the song crescendos and then fades into oblivion. Not their best album by any means, but wise men fish here.