Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Speedbuggy USA: “Kick Out The Twang” (2018) CD Review

Speedbuggy USA, after several years without any new releases, gave us South Of Bakersfield in 2016. And now they’ve followed that gem with another excellent album, Kick Out The Twang. This album features mostly original material, but also a couple of good covers. And in fact, one of those covers kicks off the album. The first band I ever fell in love with was The Monkees, and Speedbuggy USA gets things going here with a good country rendition of The Monkees’ “Last Train To Clarksville,” here titled “Take The Last Train To Clarksville.” And it totally works as country. Of course, The Monkees had a lot of country elements to their music, thanks to Michael Nesmith. Anyway, this is a fun rendition. They don’t bother with the “didda-didda-didda” part. A great start to the CD. It’s followed by “Get Around,” a good solid rock song with a rough and rowdy edge, like a song playing at the devil’s favorite whiskey joint. There’s even a bit of howling. There are moments when it sounds to me like what would have happened if Bon Scott had decided to tackle country music. “I get around, I get around/I don’t give a damn if I sink or I drown/I fall down, hit the ground/I get around.”

“Shaky Town” is a somewhat mellower country tune that has that rhythm like a horse trotting across the range. And, hey, it addresses one of those great country music topics – driving a big truck. This is one I’m going to add to my road trip play list, especially because I love the line “I ain’t lost, and I won’t be found.” Oh yes, I’m eager to get on the road, to be going, doesn’t matter where. It’s the leaving and not the arriving that is appealing, you know. This is a song I enjoy more and more each time I listen to this album. It’s followed by another of the disc’s highlights, “Hold My Head Up High,” with that potent combination of punk and country. “What should I do/I still need you/You were untrue/What should I do.” There is some really good vocal work here. Then “Southbound” begins with the sound of a train whistle, and takes on the rhythm of a train speeding along, a song in motion.

“Sorry” is a gorgeous, slow, sad tune. “I’m sorry I watched you cry.” This song is just so bloody good, and completely effective. The band then raises the energy again with “Wood, Screws And Nails,” a fast-paced and fun country punk tune. Dance around like an elated maniac with amphetamine pumping through his veins. “This heart is strong and it will not fail/I built this heart with wood, screws and nails/And why don’t you love me/Darling, tell me true/Why don’t you need me/Darling, I’m your fool.” And, yes, there is a Mr. T reference, if you needed any further reason to adore this song. That’s followed by the album’s second and final cover, “Unchain My Heart,” their version sounding truly haunted and pained, and lines like “I’m under your spell, like a man in a trance/But you know damn well I don’t stand a chance” ring true. We are in dark country territory here.

The band moves more into the folk realm with “Long Gone.” “I’m long gone/I finally let go.” I like this song a lot, but my absolute favorite track on this album is “Honky Tonk Singer,” which follows it. This is a fantastic song; it is serious, moving, engaging, and features perhaps the best vocal performance on the album. Here is a taste of the lyrics: “I’m at the end of a trail/I can’t hold on much longer/It’s a hard road to travel/When love lets you down.” This song digs right into you, you know? Then “Rodeo Star” is the song that gives the album its title in the lines, “If I was a rodeo star/Life would be so beautiful for me/Why, I’d come out with a bang/Hell, I’d kick out the twang.” The album concludes with “Darlin’ I’m Comin’ Home,” a lively song about being on road, another good choice for a road trip mix. “Truck stop girl, won’t you treat me right.”

CD Track List
  1. Last Train To Clarksville
  2. Get Around
  3. Shaky Town
  4. Hold My Head Up High
  5. South Bound
  6. Sorry
  7. Wood, Screws And Nails
  8. Unchain My Heart
  9. Long Gone
  10. Honky Tonk Singer
  11. Rodeo Star
  12. The Devil With Me
  13. Darlin’ I’m Comin’ Home
Kick Out The Twang was released on July 6, 2018.

No comments:

Post a Comment