Record Review

East Cameron Folkcore's Kingdom of Fear

Record Review

East Cameron Folkcore

Kingdom of Fear (Nine Mile Records)

Concerning albums where politics are paramount, the bad ones blow hard like a college student high on Chomsky, while the best sublimate social unrest into art that's personal and poetic. It's the difference between Anti-Flag and Billy Bragg, and the difference between protest and revolution. Kingdom of Fear, the ambitious third full-length by local rock renegades East Cameron Folkcore, lands heart-first in the latter. "Greed is winning" declares a chilling poem, setting the stage for ECF's four-section concept album, in which voice-of-the-voiceless anthems bleed together in gapless sequence. Blake Bernstein's title track, harkening the melody of John Prine's "Paradise," notes mankind's infantile tendencies: "Still take naps, still drink from the bottle, still cry without cause/ Not responsible for our own actions, it's always someone else's fault." Soon, Jesse Moore's husky throat assails our work-a-day world over thundering floor toms and cabaret horns in "The Joke." Attention turns to Austin on gentrification tragedies "Our City" and "Blackheart for a Beating Drum," harnessing enough passion to crumble condos. At last, the band serenades a sinking ship on the madcap outro of "Into Hell's Sea." Epic in every sense of the word, ECF's hourlong Kingdom of Fear delivers as powerfully as its weighty subject matter.

****

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