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Crazyhearse, Pigman 

(Self-released, CD)

Straight out of what must be the most dilapidated backwoods shack in Middlebury comes spook-country psychos Crazyhearse. With their rotten hearts on their sleeves and tongues firmly in cheek, the band lives up to its oddball moniker. Comprising David Kloepfer on guitar and banjo, Shan Reil on bass and keys and Corey Many on the kit, Crazyhearse stomp their way through a series of swampy, deep-fried rockers with as much subtlety as the town drunks and backwoods freaks they sing about.

Fans of the morbid potty humor and vitriolic rock championed by Southern Culture on the Skids, Primus and Ween should be perfectly comfortable with Crazyhearse. No slouches in the raw talent department, the band members have loaded their debut with plenty of interesting turns and clever hooks. Although Crazyhearse's forceful, guitar-driven sound is the main focus, occasionally they expand their sonic palette to include synth and fiddle.

Title track "Pigman," boasts swinging drums, a walking bass line and jangly electric guitar. An unlikely yarn about one man's journey to deliver baked goods, the track describes a woodland creature "naked and tall with a head like a hog" that assails the protagonist. "Liquor Store Woman" finds the band belting a banjo-driven paean to their local liquor-store clerk with faux sentimentality.

Elsewhere, Crazyhearse focus their idiosyncratic lyrics on the physiology of death -- such as in the bouncy, Eastern European-styled "Rigor Mortis." "Hillshire Love" is yet another love song, albeit about a long-lost bratwurst. "I miss that saturated burst / I walk the floor looking for the wurst," they sing with surprising tenderness.

While the band's vocal delivery could give Primus a run for their money, it often tilts towards sheer imitation, such as on "Going Hunting." The cut features a round of yodeling that sounds cribbed from Colonel Claypool himself.

There's nothing dainty about Crazyhearse's tunes, but that doesn't appear to be their aim. Overall, the band seems content to have some good ol' shit-kicking fun. If you inhabit a similar space, Pigman is a sure shot.

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Tanner McCuin


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