This week, Chris Unck and the Black Roses unleashed Ridiculous! Ridiculous! on the world. Their sophomore album, this collection of folky southern rock has a twang and a swagger running through it that will melt the heart of any true southern girl while maintaining enough of a rock edge so as not to scare off those anti-country rock fans. This record deviates from debut record Country Roads and Love, which was much more mellow, but it’s definitely a change for the better. Ridiculous! Ridiculous! has a fuller sound both in the production and the composition that Country Roads doesn’t have.
Opening track “Ruby With Them Eyes” makes an excellent introduction to the record with a jangley guitar, harmonica, accompanying Chris’s raspy voice. Chris claims the song “doubles as an aphrodisiac while drinking tea with that girl your [sic] swooning.” This is due in part to the driving beat that feels like a train and lends it self to being played at maximum volume, which is even suggested in the liner notes.
From “Ruby With Them Eyes,” the record transitions into “My Bonnie Young Lass.” This song was written after a fan got into a bar fight at a gig. The song, with it’s frantic melody, “Dixie” refrain, and promise for heading “out to the Rio Grande” feels like it should be playing over a bar fight in an old movie. There’s also what I sounds like a kazoo playing through the track that would certainly led itself to a Monkees’ style frolic through a saloon. Hey, maybe the record is called Ridiculous! Ridiculous! For a reason?!
Easily the most country-fied track on the record is “Dirty Kuntry Girls.” It’s got a stomp and a chant sprinkled with a “grab your partner by the hand” all wrapped up in a lap steal. It plays to every southern cliché, but it works and manages to sound like high school, to me and lots of other people I’m sure.
“Turning Knives Into Steam” is the first single from the record and is captured in Chris’ first music video, as he and a lady friend explore East Atlanta. This ballad of “shoulda, woulda, coulda” is all about first loves, getting drunk in the backseat, and sneaking around behind parents’ backs. The infectious chorus grabs your and won’t let go as have your own flash back to that “shoulda, woulda, coulda” moment.
The record does take a more mellow turn on tracks like “Little Hummingbird.” The song was scribbled down in bits and pieces during a fever-induced delirium complete with hallucinations that resulted from a month long stint in a bed with a fever that he couldn’t shake. Perhaps it’s the delirium that lends the song it’s airy and dream-like quality.
Every song on this record plays like a soundtrack to a mini movie set off in you head from the first note of each track, while the record as a whole sounds like it should be the score to a cook out with a back yard full of friends. Of course, then you couldn’t give each song the attention it commands.
Molly Segers - who has written 6 posts on popwreckoning.
released August 19, 2009
Catlin Burns--Album Art Bandito Painting
Chris Unck--Guitar, Bass, Drums, Harmonica, Kazoo, Ukele, Vocals, Keyboards, Sampling, Lap Steel, Mixing, Mastering,
Photography, Production, Engineering
Andy Kilinski--Pedal Steel
Greg Shapiro--Bass and Piano
Catlin Lang--Flute and Backing Vocals