Hailing from Asheville, North Carolina, Skunk Ruckus is a band that according to their webpage blends elements of old time music with punk, as so many other bands claim to do these days. I don’t care if there’s a million of these bands out there, as long as they are all as good as these guys. The punk influence is minimal, but nicely done. Even the typical old time music is minimal, well yeah, they use a washboard and banjo, but it doesn’t sound like they are trying to be this 1930’s band gone punk… Where most bands stay far away from electric guitar and bass, Skunk Ruckus embraces them to give their sound that extra kick.
An important aspect of this band and therefore this album is Mr. Jim Daddy’s vocals. Nick Cave comes to mind more then once when I hear him sing, and that’s a huge compliment.
“Billy Mac” kicks the album in first gear and takes you on a wild ride with a homicidal maniac and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Dark storytelling, creepy vibes and great musicianship. Next up is “Pretty Little Things” and here’s that Nick Cave vibe for the first time. Girls hold your men tight, dance with him and when you look into his eyes… You know you’re fucked… He’s a killer…
“The Devil Must Be Beating His Wife” is a great uptempo song that will get every crowd rocking like fools. In Belgium we say “it’s carnaval in Hell” when the sun is shining and the rain is coming down at the same time, but I like this phrase way more.
Rolling into “Darling Corey” Skunk Ruckus upholds the tempo and delivers a great version of this traditional song about love, loss and moonshine. Before you know it there’s a “Mosquito” buzzing around your head and as the real little bloodsucker this song is irritating, but that scratch after the bite can be so rewarding, doesn’t make sense, I know, just listen…
As the album moves on with “Hello” we come to “You let me Stay”, a balladesque song that once again proves that for every stupid drunk there is a girl dumb enough to take him in. Thank you girls, we try, we realy do… “Tear It Down” is also a traditional, but wrapped in a punk/rockabilly blanket with a great kazoo part that will put a huge smile on your face.
I think that “Little Margaret” can best be discribed as a gothic country song, it’s eerie, dark, building up, waiting to explode, waiting, waiting… If they could get Lonesome Wyatt to record this song with them, this would be an instant classic. Don’t get me wrong, the song is fantastic, but listening to it, I could just hear Jim and Wyatt sing this together. “Zombie Love Song” sounds like an old psychobilly song on your recordplayer at the wrong tempo. And even then it sounds cool…
By now you should have figured out that I realy like this album and I’m sure most of our readers will too. I hope they get the opportunity to show all of you what they are about and make you dance, drink and party like crazy.
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