(Fat Possum Records)
Colour Revolt come from that ramshackle tradition that rose from the Memphis music scene, post MTV. Taking blues and punk as a basis, Memphis became a home for some disaffected musicians who wanted to make music that didn't exactly jibe with the sounds of that day.
From the Oblivians to the Grifters, this brand of deconstructed blues deeply influenced the indie rock scene. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the Replacements, Pavement, and the White Stripes are just a few examples of well-known acts that used this Memphis scene as a guide and inspiration for their music.
The Colour Revolt come from Oxford, Mississippi, just down the road from Memphis. They cut Plunder, Beg and Curse at Sweet Tea Studios located in their hometown. The've made a record that gives no quarter.
From the opening notes of "Naked & Red", you are overwhelmed with ominous noise, and it never stops. Colour Revolt recorded an EP for Interscope that preceded this release. That EP was a little slicker. Plunder goes for the throat.
On the surface, the record is in keeping with today's indie rock sensibilities. As one digs deeper, the guitars have a Skynyrd vibe crossed with blues providing a strong mix. "See It" is particularly effective in the ways that it captures your ear and then builds in intensity.
"Moses of the South" may be the standout track on the album. Behind a beatiful melody, these lyrics seem to demonstrate the stark vision Colour Revolt has for its home country:
i while dancing, horned sirens fly
they cackle at the sun
they're spitting at the earth
plunder, beg and curse
pure and fearful children flee north
at the sound of the kings horn
The driving "Swamp" follows next and intention remains clear:
this evil body never tried
with all them rattling bones
yeah i guess i sleep alright
my mind, my body
were made for good and evil too
well i got an eye for an eye if you gota a tooth to use
"Moses of the South" and "Swamp" represent the yin/yang of Colour Revolt. One minute they hypnotize, the next they attack. Like a coiled rattlesnake, it's always best to be wary.
In the same way that Pearl Jam was able to take the grunge scene in Seattle and make it palatable for the masses, Colour Revolt may have done that for Memphis' deconstructed blues.
The White Stripes, Jon Spencer, and the Replacements have had their day. It's now time for some Mississippi kids to rock the indie scene for a while.
- Jim Markel