Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The abridged version of the somewhat convoluted backstory to the first set of Todd Snider originals in four years (and after his run fronting the Hard Working Americans) is that these tunes were meant for his alter-ego Elmo Buzz. That’s the alias he uses to play club gigs between his larger venue ones to avoid contractual issues.
This batch of 10 short (the album is over in less than an half hour), unassuming rockers were written quickly and performed live in the studio when he found he had free recording time but no new music. Not surprisingly, they are simple, no frills, trashy fun in keeping with the delightfully tacky, rowdy garage rock approach of “Louie Louie,” “Wooly Bully,” or Tutti Frutti,” just three examples Snider quotes in his liner notes for the project.
The band is rough and tough, the playing is raucously raw and the modest songs are slightly better than what you might hear in any dive bar by the local house band. There’s plenty of honking sax, farfisa keyboards and frisky lyrics generally about “chicks and cars and partying hard” as Snider sings in the opening “Hey Pretty Boy.” He charges through this stuff in the spirit it’s written for, wrapping his gritty voice around these throwaways about a dance called the “Funky Tomato” and telling women to “Come On Up” and see him sometime.
In other words, if you’re looking for a good time disc to get your party started, you could do worse than slapping this on, turning up the volume and letting Snider and his pals kick start the fun.