Ghettobillies

Butterface

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Kiss my grits, this CD's fun! The Ghettobillies, Ann Arbor, MI's, favorite dirty acoustic punks, have grown considerably with their second release Butterface. It would be simple for the casual listener to dismiss this music as a loose collection of novelty songs, but the Ghettobillies inject enough passion and soul into their goofy tunes to transform everything from heartbreak at the mall to love of ice bold beer into heartfelt pop gems. Deeply layered harmonies express their twisted observations of pop culture's misfits, celebrating the line dancer and lovelorn plumber as opposed to cruelly exposing them. The acoustic trio has now expanded to include gritty electric guitars, female backup singers Dina Harrison and Rebecca Anderson, fiddle (courtesy of Liz Auchinvole from the Original Brothers and Sisters of Love), and a host of guest drummers. These layers of string sections and cash register receipts push Butterface further over the musical edge than their 1999 release Some Rezeev. The songwriting has grown too; the cross-dresser from the first album is now into S & M, and the band's fascination with disco and Chips has evolved into questions about religion and the plight of the overweight -- OK, maybe they haven't matured that much. The real startling standout on the album, however, has nothing to do with gettin' jiggy or gettin' wasted; on "Another Song" Robbie Conaway earnestly and accurately sings about the dizzying highs and crushing lows of an artist trying to get his music heard. "We're not in it for the drugs or the fame or the plugs or the ride/We just do it to get by" he sings before the choral section sends up goosebumps. This song should be required listening for anyone who learns three chords and decides to start a band in mom and dad's garage.

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