aec.qs15.2 9/6/94 New
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    Mule Quarterstick

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Review Text Featuring drummer Jim Kimball and bassist Kevin Munro (aka Kevin Strickland) from the Laughing Hyenas and former Wig frontman P.W. Long (aka Preston Cleveland) on guitar and vocals, Mule came out of the gate as a gang of Midwest roots-punk all-stars, and if their self-titled debut album is sometimes flawed by Long's overly mannered vocals, musically they hit the ball out of the park their first time at bat. Kimball and Munro don't hit quite as hard as they did on the Laughing Hyenas' bruising Life of Crime, but they sound tighter than ever and fill out the songs with an impressive show of both force and dynamics. And Long's fierce, choppy guitar work may not be overly melodic, but it fits this material like a hand in a glove. Unfortunately, Long's tales of white-trash life (complete with moonshine and incest) are more Erskine Caldwell than William Faulkner, and his phrasing mixes the worst parts of a number of hillbilly clichés into one really unfortunate mixture (in this case, Steve Albini's habit of burying vocals in a mix turns out to work in the band's favor). As a writer and vocalist, P.W. Long would get a lot better with time, but musically Mule knew where they wanted to go from the start, and on this album they get there right on time; ignore the vocals and you've got a great record. ~ Mark Deming

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Mississippi Breaks - 3:25
  2. 2. What Every White Nigger Knows - 4:17
  3. 3. I'm Hell - 3:21
  4. 4. Drown - 3:25
  5. 5. Now I Truly Understand - 3:17
  6. 6. Mama's Reason to Cry - 4:37
  7. 7. Lucky - 5:16
  8. 8. Sugarcane Zuzu - 5:21

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