Newagehillbilly - IV: White Walls

14 songs
42:24 minutes
***** ***


Luxembourg has its Cyberpiper who combines medieval European music with a futuristic bagpipe synth. It's only logical that the USA must have their Newagehillbilly. Don't expect any trans-dimensional post-country. Alex Strama, the main man behind NAHB and the record label MT6, used to play experimental electronic ambient acid on his three first albums, but decided to turn more rock on the fourth one, IV: White Walls, which is consequently also the first non-CD/R album on his label.

There is still an experimental edge to his music, but it is a thoroughly composed album with lots of intentions, and the songs veer one moment this way, and the next one into a completely different universe, without ever losing momentum. The fourteen songs are mostly rather short, but the vast stylistic range makes this more than just a juxtaposition of your regular rock songs. The album begins with the science fictional intro Child's Eye, before Astroids Collide picks up the theme in a more roots rock direction, sounding like a crossbreed between Bob Log III and Finnish electronic artists Aavikko and Desert Planet. My personal fave is the instrumental Ghost, which is conjuring the image of early Butthole Surfers, with a criminally amazing guitar solo at the end. The following Kin Luck emphasises strongly a new wave (or new age, considering the band name) influence, not that far away from Devo or B-52's. Not as polished of course, but therefore just as charming.

I could go on dissecting the album, but it suffices to be said that it continues in this zany direction, playing everything between crazy futuristic roots rock and ambient wave pop, with a sometimes great feeling for melodies (Rock/Roller), and then at times just rocking like hell (Weekend Warrior). The album ends on two more experimental songs (Doctor Spins and the long jam Lights On Einstien).

IV: White Walls is a tremendous album, combining the experimental background of his label with a more straightforward rock attitude. Only helped by a drummer on half a dozen songs and a couple of guest musicians, Newagehillbilly played all the instruments (guitars, bass, electronics, vocals, Hammond organ and drums) by himself. There is no real band attitude on the album, it does sound like a solo effort, but as such a one, it really works perfectly, displaying a crazy image of tongue-in-cheek roots rock from a future perspective as seen from the past. Ok, this is a complicated way to see things, so just imagine the cartoon show family Jetsons on a weird drug cocktail playing rock'n'roll. This is deeply entertaining, disturbing at times but never losing its smart sense of humour. The last then minutes are maybe a little less fun to listen to, but apart from that you are left with some of the coolest moments in contemporary experimental rock music.

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