Country Teasers - The Empire Strikes Back
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“In the industry, I am the only complete man...” sang Country Teaser’s B.R. Wallers, quoting Naked Lunch, back in 1995. If modesty didn’t forbid, he might’ve been speaking of his own band. Is there another current group operating at such a high level musically or lyrically? Evolving out of a prolific home recording project in the late ’80s influenced by The Cure and Butthole Surfers, The ’Teasers debuted as a beguiling mixture of deconstructed country and dissonant post-punk. “Boycott the Studio” was their manifesto: “You will not find music where it is shown, only where it is hidden...” The Empire Strikes Back, the group’s eighth full-length, was recorded in Oregon — 90,000 kilometers from the band’s home in London — when In the Red made good on a promise to find the band a live-in studio with an amenable engineer (Rich Wells of Portland’s Supreme Reality Studios). Far from a sanitized “studio recording,” the album is as damaged and unpredictable as any Teasers album (only with better microphones). The band’s humor remains as strangely contradictory as ever, with Wallers juggling a cast of personae as far-flung as P.G. Wodehouse, Ice Cube, Winston Churchill, and Bill Hicks. Is The Empire Strikes Back a concept album about race, England, and Star Wars, or did the band just find something unwholesomely amusing about the juxtaposition of fascism and Industrial Light and Magic? Via fax, all five members answer “Definitely.”