After a brief resurgence, garage rock seems to be fading again. The White Stripes will always rock something furious, but now is probably not the time to put out a jangly, underproduced collection of primitive rock songs.
The International Playboys, apparently, didn't get the memo. The bottom line is that there is no particular reason to pick up Cobra Blood Hangover.
Simply put, the songs are nothing special, with stereotypical garage rock guitar riffs and poorly yelled vocals. Where The White Stripes give a personal touch, namely weaving in elements of folk, The International Playboys stick to a formula perfected (and better executed) years ago.
The lyrics are pathetic, with awkward phrasing and lame rhymes – bad to the point of distraction. "The Ballad of the International Playboys" is especially embarrassing, and not just because of the self-name check. For example, after naming and giving the astrological sign for all the other members: "I'm the lead singer of this dirty rock band, and I'm a Cancer." Fifth graders have showed more inspiration.
And even bearing in mind that half-assed production is a must in the garage rock genre, the mixing leaves something to be desired. Too loud, too trebly lead guitars pierce over the din from time to time, painfully slicing through the eardrums. Use headphones at your own risk.
There are a few positive – maybe "mitigating" would be a better word – things to say about the Pabst Blue Ribbon Montana Band of the Year. There's a decent energy to some of the songs, so a bad PA plus nine or 10 beers might make a $5 bar gig fun in a hazy sort of way.
And the country cliche-loaded "The Give a s***ter is Broken" has a few clever turns of phrase: "The give a s***ter it is broken / The parts to fix it won't be in today / And I don't know about tomorrow / But I know it didn't work yesterday."
But The International Playboys are certainly not headed to rock stardom.
Robert VerBruggen (http://robertsrationale.blogspot.com) is an apprentice editor at The National Interest in Washington, DC. and is an antiMusic contributor