Bobby Bare Jr.'s Young Criminals' Starvation League

Record review

Phases & Stages

Bobby Bare Jr.'s Young Criminals' Starvation League

The Longest Meow (Bloodshot)

What can 11 people do in 11 hours? With Nashville's Bobby Bare Jr., they can record 11 songs, each with its own distinct flavor, traversing the genre spectrum confidently to compose a continental breakfast of styles served up without a drop of self-consciousness. The Longest Meow is pure sass, and it lets you know at the outset. "The Heart Bionic" starts off sounding like Tom Waits on morphine, a jubilant mash-up that sets the playful tone of Meow. "Back to Blue" features a south-of-the-border-flavored trumpet intro, then slips easily into a bona fide country song. The album then slides right into "Sticky Chemical," which brings personal lubricant to mind in the context of the song ("You need a key/every night"), though the tune itself is quirky and not cutesy, peppered with little human "eeps" dotting the aural landscape. The compressed nature of the album's production is a bit distracting, but only in the sense that the band sounds incredibly well-rehearsed with an authentic, organic feel. Were all these songs done in one take? If so, The Longest Meow is nothing less than a wonder and deserves another half-star as a testament to eschewing the artificial nature of musical creation endemic to the ProTools regime. (Emo's, Thursday, Oct. 5)

***.5

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