The Whiskey Predicament is Nate Fey and his twisted version of happy go unlucky acoustic rock played through a gramophone. It’s a kitsch way of dealing with music that allows you to embrace a very DIY approach to recording and then run with it and Nate makes it shine.
Opener “Saturday Comes” is such a fun track. It’s a simple acoustic guitar led strum-along but there’s plenty of wind instruments that accompany the guitar and a weird tv-tuning warping sound that makes an extra melody. Nate’s voice has a warm and floaty feel to it, as if there were a few whiskey’s involved in the recording process! This however adds to the pub-like ramshackle way of enjoying grass-roots music and only adds to the atmosphere. It’s a catchy track too! “Disco Christmas” adds a bell rattle and bit more rowdiness to the agenda as the chorus becomes a darker version of a Christmas carol. “Better Than Before” is a more gentle track although the lyrics are far sadder. Behind the guitar chords there’s a very low-fi organ that adds a strange alien warmth to the track. “Greasy Machines” is far more upbeat and foot tapping. It’s probably the most instant track on the album and is the best entry point to The Whiskey Predicament’s production and writing styles.
“The Architect Song” is one of the strongest ballads of the album. The low production adds to the gentle playing and singing and it stands out as being particularly mature. “Take the Camaro” returns to the grass-roots pub acoustic open mics. There’s a mouth organ even thrown in for good measure along with dual shouting for the chorus lines! “Don’t Look Back” is a slow builder over its six minutes to a pitchy and whiny conclusion. The idea is to make something completely without production it seems but here is the only point where it hinders the album as voices and cymbals really push against each other jarringly. “Plug It!” however is the silly song of the album and you can’t help but tap your feet to the cowboy jig shouting the title over and over. It reminds me a bit of PJ Harvey in her early days. Title track “Escape From the Meat Market” has a slinky feel to it with the organs and guitars working an eastern block chord structure that makes you think vintage Pink Panther. It’s playful and fun and also includes percussion which is a rarity for the album. Closing track “Open Up the Gates” rounds off the collection with a skipping marching beat and an uptempo fun piece.
Alot of your enjoyment of The Whiskey Predicament will be down to your view of the production. It’s minimal, almost mono and feels like you’ve bootlegged a live show. To some that will endear the album, to others it may alienate. There’s some great potential here for the future and crafting the more unusual tracks structures rather than the middling pub songs would make me more interested in a follow-up – but that’s due to my love of the unusual. The album is very much a 50/50 split so there’s something for both sectors. One for downing pints to.