Reviews U.S.S.A. The Spoils

U.S.S.A.

The Spoils

U.S.S.A. is a relatively new project consisting of Ministry’s Paul Barker, Tomahawk’s Duane Denison and…two other guys. Two out of four guys that have had some level of fame does not make a “supergroup,” a word seemingly thrown around any time a dude from one known band happens to get together with one or more dudes from another known band. But for those familiar with both artists, the collaboration between these two gentlemen should be reason enough to check this group out just the same.

Their debut album, The Spoils manages to yield quite a few surprises. At first you’ll be surprised at the whole D.I.Y thing of it all, a relatively small (in marketing strategies, anyway) release through seemingly not so much a label as an independent artist’s collective known as Fuzz Artists.

The next big surprise is the band’s music. One would think a cool amalgam of industrial Ministry / Lard / Revolting Cocks mixed with the coolness of a Jesus Lizard / Tomahawk kind of a thing and you’d be half right. The latter half, that is, because U.S.S.A. sounds pretty much exactly what we’d always come to expect from Tomahawk, with the exclusion of their last album, the polarizing Anonymous. But for all who disliked Anonymous, the groove-oriented chugga-chugga rhythms are back. All of this is a good thing, mind you. It’s just puzzling that Barker’s contributions are seemingly so minimal. It isn’t until more than halfway through the album that Barker’s influence is felt on the ball-stomper “Forget Yourself.”

From Denison’s signature guitar work in opener “Dead Voices” to the slower-tempo almost Steel Pole Bathtub-esque “Wasteland,” there isn’t an ounce of wasted space on this album, which, I can say in all sincerity that had it been reviewed three months ago, it would have been in at least my top fifteen records of the year. Singer Gary Call was a good find for the band. He’s a very versatile vocalist that serves the music well. If this lineup was maintained and there was never another Tomahawk album, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. I mean, whatever treats Mike Patton always brings to the table, Tomahawk was first and foremost Denison’s project and while their albums were strong in their own way, I would even go so far as to say that The Spoils is a stronger entry than any of them or, at the very least more consistent.

I think I’ve just touched on what my trouble with Tomahawk has always been. While I’ve always enjoyed Patton in whatever he’s associated himself with, Tomahawk just seemed like an awkward fit. For a guy who’s gone from Mr. Bungle to Fantômas to his Mondo Cane project, a more mainstream (though not in the denigrating sense of the word) project feels ill-suited for a guy who’s best at his most experimental. U.S.S.A. feels more organic and fitting to what Denison’s trying to do and for fans of his music. You can’t get better than that.

8.1 / 10Kevin Fitzpatrick
Advertisement
Radio K 2
Leave a comment

8.1 / 10

8.1 / 10

Share this content
Advertisement
Radio K 2
Recent reviews

Elway

For the Sake of the Bit

7.5 / 10 Elway - For the Sake of the Bit album cover

Elway kick off their latest with “Inches,” a middle finger at those of us listening to and writing about their music. So, well, I’m not the type to throw fuel ...

Slapshot

Make America Hate Again

7.0 / 10 Slapshot - Make America Hate Again album cover

What pisses the supremely tolerant off? Intolerance. What pisses Slapshot off? Edgebreakers, trainwrecks, narcissists, whiners, whingers, hypocrites, the mentally weak, and quitters! Slapshot lists, tackles, hip checks, and pins this notion of ...

Dinosaur Eyelids

Left Turn on Red

6.5 / 10 Dinosaur Eyelids - Left Turn on Red  album cover

Dinosaur Eyelids may have an bizarre moniker (where did they come up with it?) but their music is far from mysterious. Garage rock may have had its heyday long ago ...

x

Logo

Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.