Review: Meat Raffle Road - Eaten By Crows

Album Review: Meat Raffle Road Eaten By Crows
Meat Raffle Road's music really isn't alt-country. In fact, it's probably best described as "alt-alt-country" or post-punk Americana. Whatever you want to call it, Meat Raffle Road's debut album "Eaten By Crows" is "awful good eating" to borrow a country phrase. No, it's not exactly pot roast at Sunday lunch. Its more akin to fried frog legs at your second cousin's house. Delicious, but different.

Reverend Horton Heat blazed the trail for punk and ska bands to more seriously embrace elements of country music, and the two members of Meat Raffle Road have taken their long background in punk and combined it with the roots and Americana music of their childhood to create a new genre of country - a punk-country fusion that is both trailblazing and startling with added elements of humor.

The album begins with the dark, ethereal "Thunder God," and it's followed by the best song on the project, the title track "Eaten By Crows." The vocal performance is subdued and perfectly suits the stirring lyrics. But let's be honest, the music of Meat Raffle Road is meant for good times, and these guys know how to party.

Songs like "Flavor Flav," "Pacifist Jew" and "A**hole 'gainst A**hole" push the limits of country music. Even though the latter track offers racy, radio unfriendly expletives in the lyrics, it's the best example of a true fusion of hardcore punk and alt-country. Unbelievably, "A**hole 'gainst A**hole" is a major success. Likewise, the sing-along anthem, "Sh**faced," is another winner. Against all odds, "Sh**faced" is an infectious, traditional country gem.

The biggest surprise on the album is Meat Raffle Road's ultra-unique stab at a love song titled "Tossing And Turning (For You)." These post-punksters know how to create a melody, and the chorus of this track is terrific.

Meat Raffle Road is probably a band you'll either love or hate. But the band's songwriting talent and consistently memorable melodies cannot be ignored. These punk rockers turned country boys have the talent to create a follow-up album with country chart hits in the vein of Big & Rich. Indeed, Meat Raffle Road is a band to watch. There's something big in this band's future - whether it involves a penthouse or a penitentiary is the only question left to answer.