Tuesday, September 6, 2005
There are probably very few people in Lawrence who are familiar with The Ants. This is largely due to fact that the band rarely plays around town, which may have something to do with a rotating membership that previously featured out-of-state members. Singer-songwriter Chad Bryan currently resides in Overland Park, however, indicating that we may see The Ants emerge in the near future.
"Chinese Democracy" is a split vinyl-only release that features three songs apiece from The Ants and Nashville's Ole Mossy Face. The Ants' rough-around-the-edges lo-fi sound is presented in borderline hi-fi, a notable improvement over the band's last release "Victory Side." Chad Bryan can be a tough nut to crack with his penchant for outsider folk-rock, but these three songs invite the listener in a little bit closer than the often inaccessible "Victory Side."
Ole Mossy Face comes across as the better-rehearsed band, fusing R.E.M.-style guitar rock ("Call On Me") with a laid back alt-country vibe reminiscent of Drive-By Truckers. ("Donkeymaster"). Fans of Lucero, Li'l Cap'n Travis and Ol' Yeller would do well to check out these fellows.
Though The Ants and Ole Mossy Face share members on "Chinese Democracy," the two groups may not appeal to the same type of listener. Ole Mossy Face is the more instantly appealing of the two, while The Ants require a degree of patience due to the group's meandering vision. All things considered, this split release is a worthy introduction to both.