What?!?! Drums and electric guitars on a Meat Purveyors album? "Blasphemy!" you say? Well, blasphemy is nothing new to the Meat Purveyors, and rest assured that -- despite the presence of said tools of the Devil -- they're up to the same old tricks: whip-smart, sharp-tongued songwriting, a taste for offbeat covers, and an approach to bluegrass instrumentation that crosses the line into punk rock fervor. "Burr Under My Saddle" starts things off with an electrified bang, but the songwriting is classic Meat Purveyors, culminating with: "Well you said you can't live without me/I can only hope that's a fact/'Cause I'm kicking you out on the side of the road/And if you're dead then you can't come back." And if you think that's blunt, wait until you hear the scathing "Look on Your Face," where the return to acoustic instruments takes nothing off the sharp slap of the lyrics. Pete Stiles
and Diona Davies
play some hot mandolin and fiddle, respectively, and Bill Anderson
gets to show off on electric on both "Fist City" and the plugged-in revisit of "Hanged Man" (originally on More Songs About Buildings and Cows
). Besides Loretta Lynn
's "Fist City," the covers range from the sublime (John Conlee
's "Rose Colored Glasses") to the ridiculous (Foreigner
and the Human League
!), which should really come as no surprise considering their previous treatment of ABBA
. They even manage to give the Monkees
' "Circle Sky" a bit of that high lonesome sound. And they're not all jokes and smirks, either. "Rose Colored Glasses" gets a fine reading, as does Cherilyn DiMond
's touching original, "Snow in the Door." "Plates a'Spinnin'" even takes a stab at the political. But bitter and acerbic are still what the Meat Purveyors do best, delivered with flair by singer Jo Walston
. Someday Soon Things Will Be Much Worse!
shows that these old dogs have learned a few new tricks but they've still got plenty of bite.