It’s been awhile since I reviewed the debut album from Florida swamp-noir rockers The Bloody Jug Band. The last I’d seen of these backwater maniacs was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-‘em appearance in a Ke$ha video as her “backing band,” but now, those boisterous buzzards have returned with a small slice of hellacious hoot-n-holler with their new EP, entitled MURDER OF CROWS.
On the title track, we find The Bloody Jug Band back in fine form, picking up the avian allusions they craftily explored with “Roadkill Boys” on their debut album, COFFIN UP BLOOD. “Murder of Crows” starts as a kick-ass slow grind, driven by the gravel-and-glass vocals from frontman Cragmire Peace, with some impressive picking and harmonica to boot.
The next track, “Wanted Man In Hell,” details a Faust-meets-Robert-Johnson tale of ripping off the Devil, with Peace’s impressive washboard work showcased. Some excellent work by Randall Scandal (mandolin), Adam Blackwater (resonator/lap steel), banjo by Steevil, and licks by Brian Shredder (guitar) fill out the song, with Stormy Jean’s backing vocals adding depth and beauty to the rough-and-tumble atmosphere.
The EP really starts to shine with “Asylum Blues,” a tale of misery and woe, with the whole band filling out a slightly slower, slightly softer sound, which creates a layered effect that practically begs to be heard through a nice set of headphones… but would be even more impressive live. Impressive harmonica work provided by Bloody Rick Lane flavors the track, solidifying the country-fried atmosphere.
The pièce de résistance, however, is the EP’s closing track, “The Undertaker.” An almost epic track (at 4:31, the longest Bloody Jug Band track to date), “The Undertaker” tells another tale of a dark wanderer of the swamps and bayous, with Peace’s washboard work lending to the slow burn. “The Undertaker” pulls vocalist Stormy Jean’s vocals, which could give Peace’s a run for his money in the gravel-and-growl department, to the front and center for a few verses, creating a beautiful and haunting juxtaposition to the swamp-noir tale of the graveyard’s main man.
I would be remiss not to mention the backbone of the Bloody Jug Band: the impressive work from Seth Funky on washtub bass and the omnipresent bloody jug music provided from Big Daddy Jerm. These two musicians hold the proceedings together, and the sound of the whole gang is a beautiful and powerful beast, with all cylinders firing together to create The Bloody Jug Band’s wholly unique sound.
The only complaint I have regarding MURDER OF CROWS is that it’s just too damn short, leaving me wanting so much more of the Bloody Jug Band’s swamp-noir kickassery. No big worries in this department, though, as frontman Cragmire Peace has promised me that another LP is in the works. A preview of a yet-to-be-released track has confirmed that the BJB has a lot more to offer… now let’s just get these boot stompers attached to a big name to tour with (Reverend Horton Heat, I’m lookin’ at you, buckaroo) and get the Bloody Jug Band’s special brand of sickness spreading all over the United States.
Nathan Erdel is a screenwriter. He wrote Headless and some other stuff. He likes beer, metal, pizza, and horror. He has three cats and one wife.