Alex Winston : King Con
A few years ago, in a piece featured in Mojo Magazine, MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer opined that the spirit of Detroit lived on in hip hop artist Eminem. Eminem, Kramer asserted captured the sense of rebellion that epitomised working class Detroit, an attitude that lies latent in the classic Motown sounds of the early '60s, and roars as loud as a V8 Ford in the MC5 and Psychedelic Stooges.
Like Kramer and Marshall Mathers, Alex Winston grew up in Detroit. At the first aural glance of her debut album, King Con, Winston is a pop artist performing pop tracks that are better suited to a suburban dance floor than the pages of critical politico-musicological analysis. At closer inspect, King Con is the pop music equivalent of a compendium of amusing short stories that satirise the whims and confounding paradoxes of contemporary emotional and social existence.
On Fire Ant, an apparently emotional perfect world is razed to the ground to the sound of a sprightly pop beat; Velvet Elvis provides another chapter to Greil Marcus’s intriguing observations on the modern day exploration and exploitation of the Elvis myth. Host stomps and struts in its first person attack on romantic inadequacy, while the eerie backdrop to Sister Wife is the ideal soundtrack for an analysis of polygamy. The whimsy of Choice Notes disguises the fascination of the music industry for a catchy pop track; the minimalist Benny takes aim at the parasitic spiritual rhetoric of televangelist Benny Hinn.
But it’s on Run Rumspringa – Rumspringa being the term given to adolescent rebellion in Amish communities – that Winston truly hits her Motown pop straps. A flourishing beat complimented by a '60s garage pop keyboard riff, backed by baritone lounge harmonies, this is a track worthy of celebration through the ages. The spirit of Detroit lives on.
BY PATRICK EMERY
Best Track: Run Rumspringa
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In A Word:Sub-cultural