The Slaughterhouse Chorus have been described using words such as "punk," "folk," "country," "rock" and "Americana" to name a few, yet on listening to the band’s self-titled debut long player the word that immediately springs to my mind is "cowpunk." Yes, all of the other descriptions are relevant but only in parts and an amalgam of those into one word is more suitable.
Opening the baker’s dozen of tracks is the raucous “Amber Waves of Cocaine,” a huge, twangy foot stomper as the Slaughterhouse Chorus take no time in hammering home their ability to mix a number of genres into an effective output. The second track “A Month Without” changes the pace and mood almost immediately, showing that The Slaughterhouse Chorus are much more than a one-trick pony, with the song fitting in nicely to what is a diverse, yet not overly so, collection of songs.
The gruff vocals and undercurrent of punk rock adds much to the country/folk delivery of “Built for BBQ” and it wouldn’t surprise me to find that Franz Nicolay had contributed to this record, or even that it had a wider World/Inferno Friendship Society involvement.
More diversity comes in “The Full Nelson,” which kicks off with some big guitar riffs that could come from many rock bands but immediately makes me think of UK rockers Reef. Despite not being a fan of more rock-orientated music, the track fits in well enough not to stick out like a sore thumb and perhaps taint my view on the record and/or the band itself.
However, across the album it would be the opening track along with the likes of “For God and Country” and “Fish in a Barrel” that stick out, with all featuring strong lyrics and a distinctive and appealing sound. In fact, that last song ends with the line ‘Go west young man – what’s more American than designing our own demise?’, which is quite an appropriate ending to a song based around the BP oil disaster in 2010.
This is a very strong release that should find favour with anyone who can get behind the cowpunk stylings inherent within the music; do not worry too much though, as the whole thing is kept together with a clearly evident punk rock backbone. In addition to writing some catchy tunes, this album also contains some very good lyrics too, something that always helps to give any release a boost from my perspective, and reading those on their own is an enjoyable process too. There is an acerbic tinge to many of those lyrics and one which helps add an edge to the more pleasing tones provided by the musical accompaniment.