REQ’D: Fall in Love on Hate Street: LP

If this slab of would-be outlaw Americana does as little for you as it does for me, you certainly can’t blame the packaging: There’s a full-color gatefold sleeve, thick, colored vinyl, and a slickly arted-up cover photo of the desert wind blowing the main dude’s blonde hair into his beard stubble while his muscular and tattooed arm plucks a gleaming acoustic guitar in the arid wasteland of what I assume is Northern California (if not, please sub in the correct arid wasteland as required). The main problem, is, really, the main dude’s—Sluggo’s—voice. It doesn’t have the brawny timbre one’d expect from looking at the guy—nor does it have much by way of energy, character, or flair. It also isn’t so amazingly incongruent that it demands to be accepted on its own terms, just for the sheer balls of it showing up where one wouldn’t think it would belong. It’s just kinda… there. There’s no sin in one’s musical reach exceeding one’s grasp (if there was, I’d be about thirty-eight circles deep in Hell right now), but I can’t say it makes for particularly compelling listening. Bring back Michael “P.S.” Hayes! BEST SONG: “Fool,” originally recorded as “Don’t Let the Sunshine Fool Ya” by Texas singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt in 1972. I was not hip to this dude before this record, so there’s that. BEST SONG TITLE: “Moon.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: All eleven of this record’s songs have a one-word title. –Rev. Nørb (Wondertaker, wondertaker.com)