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Wobblies - Padron

  by John Clarkson

published: 27 / 4 / 2002

Wobblies - Padron
Label: Mason Ring Records
Format: CD


"Shocking, but effective" second album from uncompromising New York based trio,who draw comparisions with the Minutemen, Husker Du and Mission in Burma

The word "padron" is a slang term taken from the Spanish word "padroni", and can be translated literally as meaning "a godfather" or "a master". The powerful padron is sometimes a political or a cultural figure, sometimes a Mafia type gang leader, and, occasionally benevolent, but more often an autocrat, is essentially a tyrant. As a title for the New York punk trio the Wobblies' excellent second album, 'Padron' could not be more appropriate. The Wobblies, which consists of singer and guitarist Mike Griffin, drummer Michael Hoffman and bassist Russ Aldertone, and whose previous offering 'I Have Some Language' came out in 1998, are the aural equivalent of a sock in the gut. Their music, like that of the Minutemen, Husker Du and Mission in Burma, with whom the Wobblies have much in common, is menacing, discordant and harsh, and swells and surges with a violent, aggressive energy and sense of impending chaos. Griffin meanwhile spits and barks out his often sinister vocals with a frequently malevolent exuberance. The Wobblies, although confrontational, are never, however, unlistenable , and, beneath all their grinding bluster and noise, each of the thirteen tracks on 'Padron' is also tinged with a strong sense of melody. Amidst the hard power punk chords, the Wobblies have written a strikingly good set of pop tunes , and, even the most dissonant of the tracks on the album is linearized with an underlying harmony. Like the padron, the Wobblies are uncompromising, but even at their most frightening (and the Wobblies are often very frightening), there is always also something darkly compelling and seductive about them. The fine artwork for the album of an all-seeing, all-knowing eye was created by John D. Morton, the vocalist with the seminal seventies Cleveland punk outfit, the Electric Eels. If 'Padron' has one flaw, however, it is that, unlike 'I Have Some Language', it does not list on the sleeve the lyrics of the album. Griffin is a taut lyricist, an expert at the clipped, staccato phrase, and they are worthy of attention. Like his fellow New Yorkers, Lou Reed and Hammell on Trial, he often concentrates on the violent underbelly of life. Many of the words on this second album also build further on the theme of the padron and deal with the concept of the abuse of power. 'Big Joe' is an enforcer figure, a terrifying hulk who people have "simply died afright" rather than answer the door to in the middle of the night. 'A Strategy' is about a possibly political supremacy struggle and hints at further violence. "Understand that this not a game/And if you hurt us we will do the same" sings Griffin, his voice, lilting from its regular gutteral roar, into a macabre false soprano. "Speak in questions answer all with lies/adaptable and never too precise". Most disturbing of all, however, is the bloodcurdling final track, 'In Your Kitchen', which finds Griffin assuming the role of a voyeuristic predator."I won't follow you/I won't swallow you/This I promise you/Never devour you/or overpower you/This I promise you" he leers chillingly, although one knows, by the swaggering aggression of the tune, and the rising force in his voice, that this is exactly what he does have in mind. The year ahead promises to be a busy one for the Wobblies. Griffin and Hoffman's equally abrasive and even more discordant side project, the Wick Effect, will be releasing its long awaited debut album this summer, and Griffin also has first solo EP coming out at around about the same time. There will also be another 22 track as-yet-untitled Wobblies third and double album later in the year, which the band say will signify something of a change in direction. The Wobblies are not an easy option. They are not meant to be, nor want to be, but 'Padron' is a impressive and shocking, but effective start in what promises to be their breakthrough year.

Track Listing:-
1 Glue Traps
2 Booleying
3 Acknowledgements
4 A Strategy
5 Big Joe
6 Preyer
7 C.S.
8 I Have Some Language
9 Turned Out
10 Follow the Queen
11 Powder Burns
12 Plastique
13 In Your Kitchen

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How It May Be Lawful And Fitting... (2004)
Impressive, but challenging third album from New York-based hardcoretrio, the Wobblies, which finds them pushing towards a slightly more softer-edged direction
I Have Some Language (2001)

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