Punkabilly Invasion (Hairball 8 Records)
By: Alex Steininger
What do you get when you put four drunken hillbillies in a band that wants to play rock 'n' roll? Well, you get the punkabilly sounds of Barnyard Ballers, San Diego's chaotic punkabilly band that loves to bust out the country as much as they do the punk. Some might even call their sound intoxicating, as the alcoholic blood that runs through it seems so much fun you'll feel like picking up a beer, cranking up this album, and having a blast.
If you take rock 'n' roll seriously you might want to stay clear of these cats. They just want to have fun, as "Hellbilly Jamboree," the first track on the album, clearly points out. Wild, like a party that has gotten way out of hand, they play country music like they were drunk off their asses and then jump to the punk that knocks you on your ass without even the slightest indication why. Spilling over between the punk and country, of course, is the rockabilly drive that makes the band what they are, and it is so funny, so infectious, you'll want to get up and dance with it right that moment.
But the fun doesn't stop there. The band keeps throwing humor your way with a sweaty, infectious beat to it and plenty of country and punk, like on "Lesbians." The band seems to utilize their country tingle to set up the punch line, or to stress the humorous parts of a song. And when they blast into the punk rock, you know it's time to let it all go and just go crazy.
"Ridin' on the Range" throws the punkabilly your way right from the get go, letting the upright bass do the talking and the vocals the humor. The drums tap and dance with the song, making it even easier for you to get up and just throw caution to the wind and have a great time. The guitar is distorted and clearly marks its territory with punk, while the rhythm section keeps the rockabilly force in full effect.
Packing a chorus you can't get out of your head, and more of their trademark fun, the Barnyard Ballers throw "Dr. Jeckyll & Ms. Hyde" your way with a big smile. The upright bass once again keeps the steps alive, while the "oh, ah" backing vocals swim around in your head and add the necessary melody to the song to make it an infectious punch straight to the head.
Ending with a song about masturbation, "Hand," an acoustic jamboree, the band closes out the disc with a flair. Their trademark humor comes to a peak as they send you to the floor laughing madly with a quirky jamboree going off behind it.
Rock and roll is meant to be fun and the Barnyard Ballers embrace it every step of the way. They know how to have the time of their lives while giving the listener some fun, too. I'll give this album an A-.