Tumbleweed Dealer
Western Horror


3.5
great

Review

by Finbar USER (22 Reviews)
June 27th, 2014 | 37 replies | 3,128 views


Release Date: 06/23/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The best instrumental post-stoner-math-rock musical grindhouse horror movie of the year.

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

Every single aspect of Tumbleweed Dealer's persona is geared towards the magical substance that is Marijuana. The reference in their name is obvious. They boldly state on their Facebook page under 'Band interests' two simple words: Getting high. They have previously written songs with titles such as 'How To Light a Joint With A Blowtorch.' Best of all, the cover of their second LP, heavily channelling classic American grindhouse horror flicks, pronounces the tagline "Sometimes looking for weed in strange places goes horribly wrong."

And there could not be a more fitting way of describing the atmosphere of the band's music. Western Horror takes the psychedelic, hallucinatory characteristics of stoner rock, each song having two or three key riffs repeated endlessly to build into the next killer groove, and meshes it with the brooding, eerie aesthetic of a ghost or slasher film. The result is as if the listener is taking a trip through a deserted Wild West landscape (there's even a song called 'Slow Walk Through A Ghost Town') while high off some bad weed, and it's a hell of a ride.

Rather than opting for classic stoner-rock guitar tones with heavy reverb and wah-wah plus masses of distortion, Tumbleweed Dealer's sound is surprisingly clean and even reminiscent of math-rock, with most of their riffs being more like high-pitched noodles. Every song follows a pretty much identical structure, starting with a 'base riff' that progresses with a small variation around every four bars, which I imagine main-man Seb Painchaud (sole studio guitarist and bassist) develops by jamming with loop-pedals. Mixing in post-rock vibrato guitar lines and wondrously groovy and relaxed basslines, each track crescendos to a satisfying, but never explosive or breathtaking climax.

It might seem like the potentially repetitive nature of the song structures might also become a problem, but considering that the music always changes slightly around every 10 seconds, and each new development in a riff always feels fresh and fitting, the album never becomes tiresome or drawn out. It is the inability to reach any major emotional height that is the album's only real downfall - you may find your consciousness drifting mid-way through a song because their changes are so subtle and unobtrusive, though this is not necessarily a bad thing since not all music is meant to assault your senses all of the time. It just means that Western Horror is like the soundtrack to its imaginary horror flick, rather than the story and drive of the film itself.

Tumbleweed Dealer's sound remains unchanged from their near-equal debut, meaning a possibility that they could expend the interest their limited range of sounds and structures can offer in their next release. To reach their potential and eventually create a piece of music that could be considered a masterpiece, the band need to work on tightening their songwriting to make those crescendos into some true standout moments. Plus, exploring some new musical territory would make their ideas seem more fresh, and distinguish them from every other song they've written; some prowess from the drums would be nice, since their rhythms remain fairly basic throughout the record, helping lead to the risk of the band's music becoming monotonous in the future.

However, until then we have a collection of consistently strong, relaxed, eerily atmospheric and subtly pleasurable stoner jams for all your joint-smoking enjoyment. These range from the fast-paced (for Tumbleweed Dealer) opener 'Bluntlust' to a trudging, gritty odyssey 'Riding Upon A Skeletal Steed', '...And The Horse You O.D.'d On' and 'A Scythe In One Hand, A Shotgun In The Other' being two slower, expansive 8-minute pieces, efficiently forging a feeling of being lost in that barren Western wilderness of the artwork. The closest the album comes to greatness is best track 'Southern Reaper''s extremely riff-layered, groovy second half, those intense vibrato guitars coming full circle with the beginning riffs to conjure up an image of a badass spectre of Death advancing ever closer to your starving, hallucinating body lost in the parched desert until it suddenly disappears, leaving you alone with the vultures. After the low-key, bemoaning 'Ending Credits' of 'Dead Dad Blues' it is this closing of the album that brings hope of Tumbleweed Dealer finding that creative firepower to break the rule of sequels going downhill and hatch a final part to their trilogy of musical slasher movies. All we can hope for is that they reach the ultimate high.



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user ratings (10)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Mad.
June 27th 2014



3787 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Full album stream: http://tumbleweeddealer420.bandcamp.com/album/western-horror

I can't imagine a better way to have the creepiest high of your life.

Digging: Anubis - Hitchhiking to Byzantium

SharkTooth
June 27th 2014



4258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'd imagine Swans-To Be Kind could reach a similar level of creepy

Mad.
June 27th 2014



3787 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah but they're not called Tumbleweed Dealer are they eh eh

SharkTooth
June 27th 2014



4258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

okay, you got me there

Mad.
June 27th 2014



3787 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Never listened to Swans tbf but they don't put the same amount of commitment in as TD if you get me

SharkTooth
June 27th 2014



4258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They have some damn good stuff, I think you'll like 'em

(friendly tip if you go into any album of theirs, don't spin the entire thing at once, each one is friggin' huge)

Mad.
June 27th 2014



3787 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haha thanks for the tip, I was thinking that after seeing that TBK is 2 hours long... where do I even start with Swans?!

SharkTooth
June 27th 2014



4258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

concerning creepy atmosphere, and stuff you can get high to, To Be Kind would actually be a good place to start(although, as mentioned, length) Then I suggest you try Children of God.

Calc
June 27th 2014



12179 Comments


lol everything you review gets featured.

Digging: Jizue - Shiori

manosg
June 28th 2014



6061 Comments


Great review man, pos.

This definitely reads as something that would interest me so I'll give it a spin.

Digging: Saviour Machine - Saviour Machine I

Mad.
June 28th 2014



3787 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Sharktooth Thanks for the recs man

@Calc haha not everything, just whenever I review a new release I usually ask the mods for a feature and it's up to them whether they choose it or not

@Manosg Thanks man, you probably would really enjoy this

ChoccyPhilly
June 28th 2014



6132 Comments


Mate! Congrats on the feature. Looks interesting too, so will check it out sooner than later

Digging: Falls of Rauros - Hail Wind and Hewn Oak

Hawks
June 28th 2014



35824 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This sounds awesome.

Digging: Engraved - Before The Tales

RoyalImperialGuard
June 28th 2014



1323 Comments


Rules.

Digging: surrenderdorothy - nobodywantsme

Hawks
June 28th 2014



35824 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Jamming this as we speak on their Bandcamp. Really cool stuff so far.

DrGonzo1937
June 28th 2014



5649 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is solid.

Hawks
June 28th 2014



35824 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm usually not a fan of all instrumental albums, but I'm really digging this. Looking like a high 3.5 or a 4 atm.

Oh yeah, cool review too.

conesmoke
June 28th 2014



5206 Comments


You start swans with soundtracks for the blind, and you do not pander to its length. DO NOT PANDER!

Hurricanslash
June 28th 2014



390 Comments


This album is really awesome! Was not expecting it to be this good, not sure what to rate it, though. Great review, btw!

Mad.
June 28th 2014



3787 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Damn, thanks for all the response and glad to see people enjoy this! Can't get Southern Reaper out of my head at the moment.

@cones I will try, gonna require some commitment tho



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