If you enjoyed Early Tracks from Old 97's, you'll most
certainly be pleasured by Slick Fifty Seven's latest. Maybe they've
blatantly borrowed; maybe they've never heard 'em who cares?
It's sped-up, stomping, galloping, tear-in-your-beer country, with a
dash of punk attitude that most always employs the distinctive C&W
croons of the pedal steel and twangy strums of the guitar. There's
not a whole lot of room to stray from the whiskey-drenched,
campfire-lit, giddyup formula. How unique you are is not the
pertinent question here. How good are you, and how much do you mean
it, might be better questions. More often than not, one comes across
crappy country made by tough-boy wannabes who have no skill, and
worse, no passion their bland ditties do nothing but make you
want to turn off the stereo.
Less frequently, as with this Australian trio's The Ghost of
Bonnie Parker, you'll discover adept, heartfelt songwriting that
gets your toes tapping and your ears listening. Utilizing punk's
swift one-two beats with country's whiny laments and heartbroken
angst, the record is simple, without lyrical or arty depth. You can
hear the band's youthful exuberance it's perfect for a
lighthearted listen. Most (maybe all) tracks touch on relationship
issues lost loves, broken hearts, etc. Some songs ("Still
Waitin'," "So Slow") assume a pace and attitude that evokes a feel
more punk than country, reminding the listener that the boundaries
between the grandpappy and grandkid often feel nonexistent.
There are also a couple of sad, ballad-like numbers, "Heading to My
Ex-Girlfriend's Wedding" and "Stormy Night." Just as the Old 97's
once found solace in country's open arms (come cry with me), Slick
Fifty Seven embrace punk's angst and C&W's free shoulder to come out
with a cow-punk record that proves they're pretty all right and
by golly I think they mean it.