CD Review

Eric McFadden Trio – “Joy of Suffering”

By Marcus Pan

Joy of SufferingI love it when a press kit smacks back. I’m reading the first few lines of the page that accompanies my copy of Eric McFadden Trio’s Joy of Suffering as it describes the jaded contemporary music scene, anxious anticipation of the coming of the EMT, etc. blah. “What a pile of exaggerated schlock,” I think. Then the next line: “Lest you dismiss the preceding as absurd hyperbole.” Oops, caught me. Suddenly I’m a lot more interested!

Eric McFadden is a dirty dirty boy. His music is dirty, his guitar is dirty, his attitude is dirty. Not dirty in a screaming “fuck” in a childish attempt for attention sort of way, mind[1], but in a more of a tongue in cheek in-depth thing. Basement level no holds barred, Joy of Suffering looks a lot nicer than I would expect a garage band to kick out. But it seems McFadden has a bit of a legacy to justify his shiny cardboard fold out sleeves while still being all disgruntled about music at large and getting away with it – adult like, not child like.

He’s seen the road with the likes of Bo Diddley, Joe Strummer, Reverend Horton Heat, Ron Wood, Les Claypool, George Clinton. The list goes on, but those are a few of the names that hit me. From classic rock to alternative, funk to ‘abilly, McFadden’s been out there. This time around he’s brought James Whiton (bass, stand up even which way cooler than my bass) and Paulo Baldi (drums) with him for the Eric McFadden Trio, and mixed up a whole bunch of brews on one album. McFadden himself isn’t even sure what to call it – “for the most part, it’s a rock band.” We’ll just go with that for now and take a listen to the dirty dirty tracks.

The funk-punk Put it Down cranks it open. Stoner rock in the sense that I’d break shit were I stoned. This has got to be an amazing pit song – raw, dirty, energetic with Eric’s “I don’t need to really sing I’m that cool” vocal aesthetics. Whiton’s bass are like nail gun shots to the temple. Bury Our Sins lopes up jauntily like a messy four month old zombie on steroids with castanets on its heels. Long Way Up surprises us by being a timid ballad.

Dig Whiton’s funky slapping on Miranda, a Spanish sounding or western sounding folk tune that feels like it bleeds tequila and dances in Tijuana. I keep waiting for John Wayne to stumble in with a Mexican hooker blowing his dick and a bottle of rum hanging from his pinky. Is the Morning Safe For Waking? is a good question and a grungy tune.

Nice work, your absurd hyperbole is awarded with honors. Joy of Suffering is a lot of fun with or without the alcohol and the drugs – with it you’ll break shit, without it you’ll contemplate the interesting lyrics. I’m not quite sure what would happen were you to involve acid. But it’s great fun had all around, from the stroppy Bury our Sins to the loping instru-grunge of The Ghost-Maker. Dirty dirty fun for dirty dirty adults, have at it then. Everyone gets to be that sometimes.

Contact Information:
Vermillion Media Group
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Phone: (212) 239-8384
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Web: www.vermillionmediagroup.com
[1] Sorry, Axl, but the American Music Awards cursing thing was like watching the bad kids strive for attention on the playground. Admittedly, most of us won’t forget it – but not for its glory, for it’s patheticness really.

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