Young Criminals' Starvation League
A fascination with early 70's classic country, and some gen-u-ine Nashville soul, but also delivers a quick sucker punch to the past through literate, biting songwriting.
Young Criminals' Starvation League flirts with Beatles-like harmonies, a fascination with early 70's classic country, and some gen-u-ine Nashville soul, but also delivers a quick sucker punch to the past through literate, biting songwriting.
What emerges is a smarter, softer, but somehow still menacing Bobby Bare Jr. The backing talents of folks like Paul Burch, Paul Niehaus (Calexico), Carey Kotsonis, Tony Crow and a smooth horn section give it a vibe that gets under your skin and will have you howling at the moon. Some of these songs and melodies bore into your brain like a diamond scalpel. The amps might not be as loud, but that's so you can hear the words.
From the first track, the hangdog you'll be back, you'll see "I'll Be Around," with those Stax horns (and the hummable hook of a lifetime) straight through to the casually desperate Shel Silverstein "Painting Her Fingernails, YCSL is a work of dazzling diversity, originality and wonder.
The keen-edged lyricism is both funny and poignant-the best humor is born of pain, remember. "Flat-Chested Girl From Maynardville"'s small town lament wouldn't be out of place in a collection by a modern day Flannery O'Connor, and "Dig Down" mourns that all the good ideas in music have used up, goddammit. The jumpy take on the Smiths' "What Difference Does It Make" fits right in here, irony-free.
The back to back roundhouses "Mehan" and "Bullet Through My Teeth," well, wow, is all we can say.
This album will sit in rotation on whatever device you use for repeated listens, unfurling little morsels of musical magic each time.
I'll Be Around
Painting Her Fingernails