Bobby Bare, Jr.

The Longest Meow

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At its best, live recording captures a band's raw energy and spontaneity. That's the gambit alt-country renegade Bobby Bare, Jr. plays on The Longest Meow. Recorded in 11 hours one Saturday in March 2006 with members of My Morning Jacket, ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Lambchop, and Clem Snide sitting in as the current incarnation of Bare's Young Criminals Starvation League, the album features 11 raucous Bare originals and one cover (the Pixies' "Where Is My Mind"). Bare has long ago stepped out from the shadow of his famous father's country legacy, and although he offers a passing nod to his heritage on "Demon Valley" and the mariachi/honky tonk hybrid "Back to Blue," he's primarily focused here on delivering blistering indie rock with a Southern twang. "The Heart Bionic," "Gun Show," and "Borrow Your Cape" show off Bare's black humor and sad-sack sentiments to good effect, and kick up a righteous Drive-By Truckers fuss. But "Uh Wuh Oh" is as dumb as the title looks, and songs like "Mayonaise Brain" and "Snuggling World Championships" never quite take root, devolving into jams that start out slowly and then peter out altogether. And therein lies the problem. At its worst, live recording only accentuates half-baked ideas and desultory musical execution. For the most part, this one sounds like a rootsy bar band on a particularly ramshackle night.

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