Album Review

Chad W. Lutz
There have always been sidekicks throughout history. Plato had Aristotle. Mickey had Pluto. Batman had Robin. So on and so forth, but seldom do these sidekicks ever make it out of their “better’s” shadow. But on July 13th, 2010, longtime front guitar man for the Foo Fighters, took aim to do just that with the self-titled debut release Chris Shiflett & The Dead Peasants.

Released on RCA records, the new album captures a side of Shiflett few fans have ever seen before. After finding success with the Foo and Irish-punk cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimme’s (which Shiflett has tattooed on the reverse side of his bottom lip) the Santa Barbara native stripped down his sound for the album, relying more on acoustics and organ work giving the album are far more laid back appeal than the supercharged rock and roll he’s been known for.

From beginning to end, the album is an Eagles’ paradise, featuring the acoustic guitar prominently on most of its nine tracks, interlaced with classic guitar riffs, sinister slide, melodic organ work reminiscent of Gregg Allman, and bass lines that take the wheel. Songs like “Death March,” (2:40), “God Damn,” (4:21), and “Bandaged,” (4:16) showcase The Peasants use of slide to create a more laid back, driving-down-a-dirt-highway-with-the-sun-in-your-face feel that comes to mind as the album plays out.

The self-titled album plays just shy of forty-five minutes, featuring track lengths that range from the rocking blues riffed “An Atheist’s Prayer,” (5:02), to the boisterous blues pledge that The Peasants, “can break this mold,” in the short-but-sweet “Not Going Down Alone,” (2:18).

It seems that Chris Shiflett and his band of Dead Peasants (Derek Silverman and John Lousteau), are trying to break away from the “mold” fame has cast for them up until now. Lyrics like, “you don’t have to live like this,” and, “It’s true I don’t need you,” deal with the surly issues of loss and moving on. But the music offers hope in the sense that Chris Shiflett should no longer worry about a certain someone we’ll just refer to as Grohl. With memorable tag lines, thought-provoking lyrics, and just as memorable riffs, Chris Shiflett & The Dead Peasants sounds nothing like his prefaced punk/pop music and offers listeners both new and old something different, something fresh, something new to latch onto, and definitely sets the “Peasants” aside from the “King.”