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The latest Information on McGonigel's Mucky Duck Supper Club in Houston, Texas!

Mucky Duck Music Review: Dead Soldiers - The Great Emptiness

When a band like Dead Soldiers goes on tour, they're not playing big stages or stadiums. They're playing live music venues of a smaller scale, like coffee bars and Irish pubs, dingy roadhouses and maybe a nice little stage tucked away in some forgotten corner of a performing arts complex. Nobody here at the Mucky Duck is going to complain. We're just their sort of place, and they're just the sort of band we like to put up on stage.

Their latest album, The Great Emptiness, defies easy labels of genre and style, and that same ethos permeates all ten tracks from the high energy start to the final artfully dissonant notes. Taken as a whole, the album makes it almost painfully clear that there are no easy answers to be found in anything in life, whether it's politics, culture, or relationships. Why should defining the "sound" of the album be any easier?

Consider the track "Old Time Religion," a languorous piece that deals with the question of faith in the present day. It takes a degree of agility as a songwriter to link the Christian admonition of "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" with the Islamic ritual of "casting out the devil" performed during the Hajj, and tie them together with a winking nod to Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35." 

In contrast, the rapid fire rhythm and stark message in "Prophets of Doom" lays out the unholy mess that the media and politicians have created in contemporary culture, where warnings of dire events are promised and prefaced with a commercial break, and how that constant drumbeat has damaged society at large.

Other tracks on the album focus, as so many good ones across genres do, on the subjects of love, romance, and relationships. "Still Climbing The Mountain" delivers the roots rock equivalent of a power ballad, touching on the situation of a relationship that requires more and more sacrifice from one person who knows that they'll never truly be able to bring their partner any sort of lasting happiness but keeps trying anyway despite what it costs them. The track immediately following, "A Love Song," takes a more playful note as it deftly reminds us that our love lives are not supposed to be easy or effortless, lest they lose all sense of value.

If you're still on the fence about picking up the CD, we'd suggest coming down to the Mucky Duck on May 25 and listen to Dead Soldiers perform live. Between the new stuff and tracks from their back catalog, we're pretty sure that you'll enjoy them enough to snag a copy of the album from the merch table.