"They make Nirvana sound like godamn Peter, Paul and Mary."
Road Kill is a rough document of the band's live rock shows circa 1994-95. No holds barred, this is the real deal, with plenty of distortion, feedback, athletic drumming, tight rhythm and occasional bum notes. Puts you in the cement-walled, sticky-floored punk club without having to change your clothes. Not always pretty, but consistently energetic it shows just how much sound can be produced by three people with instruments, electricity, and rehearsal time. If you ever needed convincing of the difference between Cordelia's Dad and so-called "folk-rock" bands ... this is all-out rock'n'roll, not folk music.
During this era of the band's existence, the trio was practicing about 5 hours a day to prepare for a performance at Lincoln Center called "Trio for Bands," conducted by Neely Bruce. Based on an idea from John Cage, it involved three rock bands playing simultaneously, each performing a different sequence of their own songs, specially composed songs, and improvisations. It was very loud.
With the 1996 CD "road kill", their fifth album, Cordelia's Dad exorcised the folk-rock spectre that has haunted them since the beginning of their career. Simply because this spectacular trio has drawn upon the richly snaggle-toothed ballads of Appalachia and New England as source material, it has been nigh on impossible for writers to describe them without referring to the "f" word. Rather than operating in a folk tradition, however, Cordelia's Dad have always taken their material on loud rides into the eye of the pulsing unknown. Their best work has always been draped in feedback and propelled toward an indistinct future. And "road kill" represents some of their very best work, consisting of entirely self-penned work and presenting the band's loudest and least traditional-based outing yet. "road kill" does not look back. It takes songs that share connective tissue with the best that misery-based "trad" songwriting has to offer, and shoots them out of a cannon. Distortion, feedback, exhausting propulsion and bad attitude are all elements that surface on "road kill". It presents Cordelia's Dad in a raw state that may surprise some people who know them only by reputation. For those more fully conversant with their work, this is a natural extension of the band's most recent recordings and live shows. Recorded live on stage in the United States, "road kill" presents Cordelia's Dad at their most trad-destructive. Their essential core is unchanged. Their songs are still concerned with love and death and disease and tragedy and death and love. But the brutal vector that the band follows through their material makes it obvious that their most applicable tag now reads: post-punk psychedelic power trio. The voltage on "road kill" is at a level that was only hinted at at the end of Cordelia's Dad's last album, "Comet". If they continue at this pace it will only be a matter of moments before the wags start writing things like, "They make Nirvana sound like goddamn Peter, Paul &Mary". Perhaps John Peel said it best when he was recently queried about Cordelia's Dad by a British "f" magazine concerning their peers. "Richard Thompson my black ass," spat the legendary disc jockey. "Cordelia's Dad are the real Husker Du". - Byron Coley
A document of Cordelia's Dad's years as an electric folk-rock trio, the 1996 live CD Road Kill is also a farewell to that era of their career. After this release, the trio continued in a more traditional acoustic vein. With its 11-track lineup written out in the manner of a set list (only one or two key words of each song title), the album starts with the obsessively brooding "Brother Judson" and continues in a similarly dark and noisy vein for the next 35 minutes. Even the breakneck-paced version of the gospel standard "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" has an undercurrent of existential dread. Other highlights include an amazingly intense version of "Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still," a key song from the Anne and Frank Warner collection that was one of Cordelia's Dad's signature numbers in their early years. Noisier and more raucous than any of their studio albums, Road Kill is a powerful document, but novices should probably start with How Can I Sleep? or Comet. - Stewart Mason, All Music Guide
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Tim Eriksen Music- All Rights Reserved.