When these dudes came to the Windmill in Brixton (home to Rockbeatstone’s very own Backstreets gig night) earlier in the year, the place was bursting to the seems, with moshing and general rowdiness in the crowd which one might come to expect from a typical southern bar-band. Much like the Hold Steady before them, they too are/were a hopelessly under-appreciated band who excel in tales of debauchery. It’s a lot less lyrical than Craig Finn, but at the same time, perhaps more realistic and accessible.
The sound is country punk with a distinctive ‘Southern’ element to it. As it should be seeing as they are from the musical city of Memphis. Behind the raucous, grunging, punking guitars lies elements of Springsteen crossed with Tom Waits. It’s all rather endearing. But don’t expect lyrical soliloquies however, the format of the catchy rock song is never veered from. And to be fair, this is no bad thing in this case, as they are all so god damn listenable to. The band have added a keyboardist to their mix for this album and the sound is fuller and more layered. It’s a great addition and anchors the music more distinctly into that Americana category.
Highlights include, ‘I Don’t Wanna Be the One’, ‘I Can Get Us Out of Here’ and ‘She’s Just that Kind of Girl’. All songs seem to refer to broken hearts, missed opportunities, falling out of love. It’s all text-book stuff just loud, punky and glorious. This is drinking music for a rowdy crowd. This is probably what they should be listening to at American Fraternity parties (whatever the hell those are). But wonderfully, this album seems to also be perfect music for when too much lager has been consumed, for the end of the night when music becomes epic and the words become slurred, when you’re slumped in the corner and want to go home but don’t have the energy to. When you’re on a mission to get well and truly wasted.
This is a great album that fans of rocky Americana bands will absolutely love. One that should not be missed and one that should be consumed before seeing the band live. They return to the UK in December to play Camden’s Underworld. Expect sparks to fly, clenched fists in the air and lots of drunken debauchery. If all of this sounds like you’re idea of hell, then best to stay away from this band and album. But for the hedonists out there, buy this and a six pack and drink until your heart’s content.