Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today
New West Records, 2000
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/11/2000
To label Slobberbone a country band would be inaccurate. Sure, this four-piece from Texas has their roots firmly planted in the soil of their home land, but they prove early and often on their second disc Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today that they like their cheese crunchy.
Yet Slobberbone also proves that they are a band of many contradictions. They have a lighter side, but they break out of the mold cast by fellow genremates like The Bottle Rockets by showing a much more serious side. They are a breath of fresh air musically, but they're not afraid to challenge their fans with their music in many facets. Put these all together, and you have an album that succeeds on many levels.
Brent Best leads this group, which gives new meaning to the musical concept of multitasking. Besides vocals, Best handles several styles of guitars, mandolin, harmonica and organ. To list what each player handles on this album would be almost the length of a normal review - and we're not even looking at all the guest musicians who make contributions on this record. (One concern I would have would be how this band would recreate this magic on stage... but I guess that's looking for grey clouds in a blue sky.)
Musically, Slobberbone captivates the listener throughout the length of the disc. For each light-hearted moment they share on the disc ("Gimme Back My Dog," "Placemat Blues," "Lazy Guy"), there is a counterweight which makes them almost sound like a country version of The Pogues ("Trust Jesus," "Josephine," "Pinball Song"). Slobberbone dare to look at the darker side of life and the frustrations that their characters feel, and the listener is able to emphathize with them. In a sense, the music is cathartic.
But what makes this disc work so well isn't the insight that Slobberbone shows on the serious numbers... nor is it the gentle, down-home humor they show on the lighter sides. Instead, the album presents itself almost as a snapshot of life itself - a cycle of highs and lows, with the listener never quite knowing which is coming next.
What's even more impressive is that this interweaving of the songs doesn't weaken either side - interesting, because such a mixture can be as stable as a house of cards built on a fault line. But Slobberbone proves not only that such a mixture works, but that it can be executed with fantastic results.
Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today is the kind of disc that can do practically no wrong, and it suggests that Slobberbone is a group we're going to be hearing a lot more from. Here's hoping they can pull fans over from the rock and country camps... and maybe show each side how magical this kind of music can be.