Once more into the breech with West Branch’s finest blue collar shit-kicking band. They don’t play a single lick I’ve never heard before and yet I want to hear them play them over and over. Can’t Be Trusted seems to be more overtly country than their last CD, but it’s the mean, unvarnished kind of country music–George Jones before he got sober, Johnny Cash before he found Jesus, Willy Nelson before… no, Willy’s kinda where he always was, bless his heart.
Maybe these guys would be more famous if they’d leave the bottle alone and try and pass a urine test now and again. Or maybe they’re not as messed up as they pretend, but they talk a good game. It is true though that their favorite subject is the classic country narrative: Drink too much, get into trouble, and regret it the next day. But not so much so as not to do it again.
And they can play those damn guitars. This CD sounds pretty great for being recorded in a basement in two evenings. And it’s mixed like a hip-hop CD, with a ton of bass and rude snares. Boom-bap for pickups on gravel roads? I think it could be a trend. “Got Too Drunk Last Night” is a nearly perfect example of a drinking man’s country song. It’s a simple blues boogie, but the lyrics have a sort of Zen simplicity: “I threw my chair across the bar / I threw my bottle down on the floor / I mugged the TV and they threw me out the door.”
“Hopped Up” is a brilliantly simple country blues two-step instrumental evocative of string ties, Brylcreem and gingham dresses. “Delta Avenue Blues” is yet another blues song, but it’s got a sweet Bob Dylan (circa Blonde On Blonde) sound–in fact you could sing “Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat” over it, no problem. At the end of the song you can hear someone say “that’s about as good as that one’s gonna get,” and that’s a good description for the whole CD.