There is certainly a hint of sadness that comes along in the wake of this album. Not musically speaking, it’s nothing if not full of spark and energy, but because the band, originally going by the name of Happy Little Clouds, was fronted by cowpunk icons Jason and The Scorchers’ drummer Perry Baggs, who “pulled a Grohl” and swapped sticks for the spotlight. Baggs’ death in 2012, coupled with several other concerns around the project, meant that the release was shelved and, in hindsight, another fantastic album was potentially lost to music history.
Thankfully, Sensitive Klingon, the new name for the project resurfaced and the album made its way into the public domain, and the world is a better place for it having done so.
Kicking off with It’s Not Alright we get a taste of that same brand of country rock and roll, music made kneeling at the altar of those twin deities Chuck Berry and Jack Daniels, that runs through the resumes of all concerned here. A punked out, fired up, rootsy rock hybrid which seems to come from a very specific part of the USA. I don’t know if this is what Americana is…no two people can ever agree on what that term means anyway…but if it is taken to mean music that sums up the musical story of that great nation, then this is surely it. Or at least a very weighty chapter.
M.E.T. is dark and warped and Undone seems to ooze and crawl rather than grunt and groove, shot through with chiming guitars and shimmering musical motifs but still sounding like it has clawed its way out of a country-blues swamp…and I mean that in a good way. It is also an album that covers a lot of ground, at one end of the musical spectrum, Love So Vague is spacious, underplayed and full of room for the music to breathe and Someone Everyone Knows is an anthemic ballad, if such a term isn’t actually an oxymoron. At the other end, tracks like She Sleeps in The Nude and You’re Invited gives the low slung rock and roll genius of Georgia Satellites a run for its money…and as accolades go, you can’t get much higher in my world.
It’s a great album, one that merges genres to great effect. For every dash of country cool, there is a slice of rock and roll grit. For every pop aware hook, there is a whole pickup truck of punk swagger. I’m just glad it finally got to see the light of day, and it’s an album that has immediately gone from the review pile to the personal record collection…not many do. But then anyone who knows my tastes knew that I would be all over this. Hey, did I ever tell you about the time that I ran into Homemade Sin in a Swindon kebab shop and talked with Warner Hodges about how the place would be improved by more local people wearing spurs? Maybe another time.