The Asskickers

Home on the Range

Familiarity is the one word that perhaps best characterizes the second release from Chico’s own punk-country heroes, The Asskickers. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While many of the songs here are at least a year old ("Cocaine Keeps Me Regular,” “Venice Beach,” “Anarchy Redneck Kingdom” and quite a few more), they each benefit from an annum’s worth of playing. There’s not a song here that doesn’t manage to sound both professionally performed and exciting.

Kick-off title track “Home on the Range” echoes that old English folk tune “Molly Malone” in its opening lines before turning into a driving Ramones-riffing country tale of a doublewide dweller’s first-time encounter with a dominatrix; “Camaro” deviates from the aforementioned formula by establishing a nice, blue-eyed funk groove, allowing leader-singer-songwriter Bob Howard plenty of room to tell his story about a character whose only wish is that his divorce-court-bound ex not take away the titular prized possession.

Everybody plays his best throughout the CD—Pressman, Wood, Bragg and LaPado. What’s most exciting about this disc, however, is that now the bulk of the group’s backlog of live material is out of the way; it is contemplation of the next release that sparks anticipation.