You know, I’m REALLY not sure what to make of this. Given the band name, lyrics revolving around cheap women and wine (and other country music staples), and featuring the notoriously unhinged Al Jourgensen at the helm this album is surely not something to be taken seriously. On the other hand, while totally and probably intentionally-cliché-ridden, the songs are well-written whilst remaining firmly within ‘accepted’ country structures and the level of musicianship on display certainly begs attention – you’re even treated to a guest appearance from Cheap Trick’s Rick Neilsen on guitar throughout.
Whilst he might have been beaten to the ‘Northeastern UK rocker makes country album’ punch by (alleged) Ginger Wildheart side-project Howling Willie C*nt, Jourgensen has put together a very listenable opus in ‘Bikers Welcome…’, which should certainly appeal to many fans of the music of America’s rural south. It lacks the laugh-out-loud outrageous lyrics of Howling Willie, at times sits uncomfortably between affectionate homage and outright pastiche (‘I hate every bone in your body except mine’ being a case in point), and the programmed drums are occasionally all too obvious, but people for whom slide guitars, fiddles and ‘root, fifth, root, fifth’ basslines do the business should look past the Ministry association and give it a listen.
There’s something here for fans of Al’s industrial work too; ‘Medication Nation’ features a surprising distorted vocal line and it doesn’t take much imagination stretching to think of it reworked for a mid-90s metal album, plus Mike Scaccia throws in some excellent guitar solos over the album’s 50-odd minutes.
The Buck Satan Project seems to have been going for two or three years, but despite favourable live reviews no tour seems to have been lined up to support the release of ‘Bikers Welcome! Ladies Drink For Free’ – this is disappointing, as whilst on record they come across as capable though rarely truly exciting, one gets the feeling that a live appearance in a sweaty club could be a totally different, far more exhilarating prospect. Well worth your time if you’re into either Al’s earlier work or country in general (although probably not one for the purists), but I for one will be checking gig listings for the 666 Shooters’ name more often than I spin the record.
6.5 out of 10