Nearly a quarter century in the making, the Hickoids' first full-length since 1989's Waltz a Crossdress Texas jumps the temporal gap with the pickled temerity of a low-rent stuntman. During their booze-fueled initial run (1985-1992), no one could've imagined this renegade cowpunk outfit surviving with well-oiled purpose into 2013, but sobriety and maturity have only enhanced their vulgar vitality. Border town misadventure brands "TJ" as it travels from Tijuana to Matamoros on a diet of bad drugs, run-ins with the federales, and infatuation with a donkey lady to the tune of "Me & Bobby McGee," while "Cool Arrow" translates the Mexican slang for asshole into a spaced-out pastiche of transistor Tejano and deep-fried steel guitar warble. "Side by Side Doublewides" suggests a utopian domestic arrangement. Fallen soldiers from Texas punk history figure heavily into the album's narrative thread: A cover of the Loco Gringos' "Fruit Fly" honors Pepe Lopez; Taco Land patriarch Ram Herrera is quasi-memorialized with a driving remake of the Happy Dogs' "Stop It, You're Killing Me"; and longtime Hickoids bassist Dick Hays gets his with "The Talking Hot Pants Blues." As for Harry Chapin, one can only hope he would've gotten the joke.
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