Tenderloin

Bullseye

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AllMusic Review by

Tenderloin's gritty, Texas-sized roadhouse blues receive a significant upgrade on their second album, thanks to a revamped lineup from nearly top to bottom. Singer Ernie Locke is the only holdover, with drummer Patrick "Taz" Bentley coming over from Reverend Horton Heat, whose hopped-up sound is at least a distant cousin of theirs. At turns slow and slithering ("Crime Scene," "Inseminator"), and others raw and rabid ("Mystified," "Dip Your Body in Ink"), the band crackles like wet wood in a bonfire of desire, with Locke's gravelly bellow giving the low-end a ride for its money. There's a nod to spiritual, boogie-down bedfellows ZZ Top ("Heard It on the X"), as well a rockabilly rave-up of Nick Lowe's "Milk & Alcohol," establishing the band's bi-polar personality, but mostly its focus is writhing whiskey blues, abetted by Locke's supple harmonica playing. The album unfortunately fails to fully capture the raucous nature of the band's performances, or Locke's demented, plus-size charm. Still, songs like "Alabama Hammer," "Little Detroit," and "Mystified" (with the suggestion, "when she struck, she struck with precision/in just three minutes he was catfish bait") stand as a testament to the band's rowdy, raunchy, and reckless aesthetic.

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