It’s too long, the artwork is totally misleading, and it’s self-indulgent in places, but in it’s high moments — and there are a good number of those — the debut record from Brooklyn’s The Boggs is one of the best things going in the alt-country scene today. And when I say “country” I mean deep south, depression-era Dust Bowl stompin’ music, not that pop music sung by people in cowboy hats that passes itself off as “country” these days. The only other band doing anything remotely similar to this (at least that I’m aware of) are Denton’s Baptist Generals, though the Boggs’ use a slightly more hi-fi recording process than the pure grit employed by the Generals.
Boggs’ frontman Jason Friedman is a throwback to another era, somehow managing to craft a record that sounds as if it could easily be a well-preserved artifact of the 30s, often sounding as if he wouldn’t sound at all out of place in a parallel, slightly dirtier O Brother Where Art Thou? universe.
Whether it’s Friedman picking his guitar, or the support players putting in their bits on banjo, fiddle, accordion, mandolin, call and response vocals, or just stomping on the ground (Thought I was kidding about the stomping comment before? The drummer actually gets a stomping credit.) to keep time, it sounds like a legitimate, drunken ‘30s throwdown. Friedman’s vocals are generally more slurred than not, but that’s all part of the charm. Cut this thing’s playing time down to 40 minutes from the current 60 and you’d have an instant classic of a debut record.
Written by Chris Brown.