Review – “Papa’s Band” – Kenny Tuckey

papas bandreviewed by Michael Thomas

You’d be forgiven if you looked at the title and artist and think something like “This is going to be the most goddamn American country music thing ever.” You’d be half-right—this is country through and through, but it comes from none other than Matt LeGroulx of Expwy and Galaxius Mons.

LeGroulx has had this album cooking for a while (he referenced it in his Grayowl Questionnaire two years ago) and even talked about it on Facebook with the phrase “I’ve been threatening a long time…” as though it’s something of which to be contemptuous.

There’s some evidence that this album is in jest in a way. Closer “The Danny Montana torture device” is credited to “The Spoon Boys” with members like Hank Merica, Ian Boy, Danny Montana and Jelly Dan (no doubt at least Ian Jarvis is one of these pseudonymous players), and the song itself is cacophonous. There’s so much noise and strumming that it’s no doubt suggesting that this album is trampling on the sacred ground of country until its grass comes out.

But LeGroulx does pay tribute to classic country structures and in a way only he really can. As usual. his lyrics are vivid and gorgeous (“Every time I hear the crow cry I wither and go right to bed,” he sings in the second-last song) and his titles are, as always, a mouthful, a snapshot into what you can expect from each song.

One of the most thrilling songs is “Texas roads (kiss the branching breaks,” a good old outlaw-country murder ballad. The guitar and narration will make you feel like you’re rolling down the highway in the middle of the desert. “My heart burst like a boxers lip and leaked into my clothes” is a Johnny-Cash-esque ditty that seems to be poetically describing absolute destruction of a farm and then the narrator himself.

There’s also plenty of delicious countrified guitar to take in, like the loping “Give your hand in marriage to the telepathic fryar” and its last minute, which is an extended instrumental jam. There’s some nice background vocals and harmonies in the equally leisurely “The vessel kept its cradle shape.”

Whatever the amount of seriousness LeGroulx intended, this is way too much fun to ignore.

Top Track: “Texas Roads”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)

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