End Time

Women in country music. Ugh....

Women in country music. Ugh. Songs of doe-eyed marital devotion, while behind the scenes they’re fighting a barbiturate habit, and their alcoholic husband-manager finds idle sport in pushing them down the stairs. But meet Catherine Ann Irwin and Janet Beveridge Bean, the double-headed songwriting core of [a]Freakwater[/a].


‘End Time’, [a]Freakwater[/a]’s sixth album, also makes a few mistakes – the occasional forays into a soulless Nashville sheen on the over-embellished likes of ‘Good For Nothing’, for example, are cloying, but mercifully brief. Far better, the discordant waver of ‘Cloak Of Frogs’ belies a knowledge of post-punk’s dalliance with the trappings of folk; indeed, drummer Steve Goulding, once of British art-punks The Mekons, and later alt-country revivalists The Waco Brothers, has been recruited here to skew [a]Freakwater[/a]’s lovelorn visions. ‘End Time’ works best while in this process of excavation, digging out the blasted transatlantic roots of America’s alternative-country movement, and clutching them to its broken heart.

Sometimes, it’s hard to be a woman. On this evidence, we don’t know the half of it.