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Gaggle Of Cocks - "American Trash" (CD)

Gaggle Of Cocks - "American Trash" CD cover image

"American Trash" track listing:

1. Horse 44 (4:01)
2. King Mr. Porno Cock (5:02)
3. (Breathe) Suffocation (4:01)
4. American Trash (5:05)
5. Pigz Of Agony (4:59)
6. Bomb Me (3:30)
7. Crawl (4:23)
8. Cracked (4:11)
9. My Little Hell (5:58)
10. Loading (3:10)

Reviewed by on June 14, 2009

"'American Trash' is the perfect soundtrack to a Friday night at the local tavern."

Don’t adjust your computer monitor; the band is actually called Gaggle Of Cocks. The brainchild of two musicians, guitarist/vocalist Pat Harrington and bassist Freddy Villano, Gaggle Of Cocks, by its name alone, is a guaranteed attention-grabber. Their debut album, “American Trash,” is ten tracks of gritty and dirty rock that wouldn’t have been out of place in the late 80s, alongside the Guns N’ Roses’ and Skid Row’s of the era. It isn’t original in the slightest bit, and the production is terrible, but “American Trash” gets by on sheer energy and determination to be as filthy and low class as humanly possible.

Originally released independently in 2002, the album was re-released late last year after the band signed with record label Screaming Ferret Wreckords. Their sound is mostly in the vein of hard rock, surrounded by a hazy stoner vibe that is reminiscent of latter-day Down and Corrosion of Conformity. The music is relatively simple, usually sticking to basic song structures and repetitive melodies, especially in the lead guitar work. What the band lacks in technical ability, they make up for in sheer cockiness, no pun intended.

With song titles like “King Mr. Porno Cock” and “Horse 44,” there is a swagger and charisma to “American Trash” that is lacking in much of today’s cookie-cutter hard rock scene. The lyrics are crass and tasteless, brimming with a carefree attitude towards everything and everyone. No topic is out of range, from sexual innuendos about penises to talk of raping daughters and killing sons. “American Trash” could have mainstream success if it wasn’t for the lyrical content, but then again, the album wouldn’t sound the same without the crudeness.

The songs are mid-paced, stomping along with reckless abandonment. A few tracks pick up steam, including the short closer “Loading,” but Gaggle Of Cocks seems content to sticking to a comfortable, but intense, speed. The songs do blend together, with only a few memorable chorus and bridges breaking up the proceedings. “(Breathe) Suffocation” is a decent tune with a fantastic chorus that has an infectious side to it that the listener can’t help but hum out loud long after the last note has faded. The bluesy “My Little Hell,” the six-minute epic of “American Trash,” has a low-key clean intro, before the ass-kicking begins, only to return to the clean guitar work for a quick instrumental section nestled deep within the track.

While the songwriting is solid, the production is a whole other story. The sound is murky and hollow, with notable flaws and sloppiness that could have used a touch up or two. Since the album was self-financed, it is understandable to a certain extent why the album didn’t have the time needed to be fine-tuned. While this does add a certain charm to “American Trash,” it hinders the album by draining the power out of many of the songs. There are also many weird sounds in the mix, including what sounds like a can being opened in the first minute of “Horse 44,” and missed cues in the rhythm section. The mix is fine, as all the instruments are given their respective space, but the production definitely could have used a re-working.

Most readers clicked on this review out of sheer curiosity. How is that not possible, with a name like Gaggle Of Cocks? That name is a publicist’s wet-dream, a controversy that can be exploited for a growing fan base. Thankfully, the band has the music to back up any criticisms about their name. “American Trash” is the perfect soundtrack to a Friday night at the local tavern, a debut that pulls out all the stops and is able to overcome the technical issues to add a hard, throbbing, pulsing…edge to the current dismal rock landscape.

Highs: Sleazy hard rock sound, hilarious lyrics.

Lows: Horrible production, songs blend together.

Bottom line: Hard rock that is grimy and catchy, almost begging to be played at the next kegger.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)