Goodbye Cruel World, Hello Crueler World
Somewhere between Spider Bags’ wonderfully scuzzy album Goodbye Cruel World, Hello Crueler World and the supposedly Bacchanalian Memphis recording session that produced its follow-up, the band’s chief songwriter and master of ceremonies Dan McGee got married. For most men, it’s a cometo-Jesus reappraisal of their lifestyle. For McGee, it was another excuse to throw a party. That followup, entitled Shake Your Head, almost completely tosses the band’s roadmap to Bloodshot Records out the window and goes all in on ricocheting guitars and raw hooks. It’s a glorious rager crammed into 30 or so minutes that wastes absolutely no time on its way to kickass. Opener “Keys to the City” shouts its tagline a half-dozen times within the song’s first 10 seconds before pithily summarizing the life of a small-town nobody over its final minute and 48. “Been living in this city my whole life/ now I’m cheating on my girlfriend with my ex-wife,” he confesses like a barfly at last call. “Friday Night” plays like the few hours leading up to it has he sings his pathos over boogie guitars: “Maybe I’ll drink and maybe I’ll fight/ Maybe I’m sick of Friday night/ All my friends are leaving town/ I’m the only jerk that sticks around.” You could quickly find yourself quoting half of this album after only a couple of listens, but that’s the charm of McGee and company. He’s like a gutter Gandhi dishing out tales of has-beens and flunkies with such hard-rocking, catchy verve that you want to get dirty with them.
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