Winnipeg has been doing a great job lately of turning out some excellent folk-rock, so it should come as no surprise that folk-punk sounds have begun emerging. Greg Rekus’ debut full-length album, The Dude Abides, is one such offering, creating a punk rock sound using only an acoustic guitar—sounds absurd, but it works out quite well.
Granted, Rekus also uses a stomp box, but it’s the edgy, gravely nature of his voice that really drives the punk side of his music, especially in songs like “The high cost of low prices” (which I suspect also features a kazoo). The almost distorted tuning of his guitar straddles the line between punk and folk, but overall the album sounds more like acoustic punk than anything too overtly ‘folky’.
Lyrically, The Dude Abides isn’t as well balanced. Aside from having rather simplistic lyrics, five of the ten tracks seem to be about drinking: either his own, or offers of encouragement for others to go down to the pub. While the rest of the album touches on more political subjects: social conditions, socialism, and buy local initiatives, the strongest message that comes through is one of sustained drunkenness. While this isn’t necessarily wrong, and is certainly a significant part of some punk music, a little less drinking and a little more lyrical development couldn’t hurt, and might make his next album a bit more interesting.
Reviewed by: Eleni Armenakis