Having already established themselves as top-notch hepcat punks with widely acclaimed releases like Destroy-Oh-Boy and Information Highway Revisited for the Crypt label, in 1996 Columbus, OH's New Bomb Turks made the jump to Epitaph Records. Fans were nervous about the band's label change, but the resultant releases proved to be the Turks' most adventurous and well-produced efforts. With the trademark Rolling Stones-meets-Iggy Pop-meets-the Pagans, Lazy Cowgirls, and Jerry Lee Lewis Turks sound of Jim Weber's metal-tinged punk riffage, Matt Reber's low-end pounding, and Eric Davidson's manic vocals still intact, on At Rope's End the Turks tightened up their attack and even branched out, successfully adding touches of sax and piano to some of the songs.
Davidson's knack for writing Crypt-style punny titles and sly lyrics with a healthy dose of '50s greaser slang and attitude shows up in fine form on tracks like "Veronica Lake," "(The Cure For) The Common Cold Shoulder," and "Aspirin Aspirations." While the adventurous tone of the record in general calls to mind the early experimentation of the Rolling Stones, Davidson makes the connection a little more blatantly with "Scapegoat Soup." "So Long Silver Lining" takes a few lyrical cues from Nuggets faves the Seeds. While Davidson tends toward sharp-tongued barbs, several songs take a break from the grinning and offer a dark air, as on "Bolan's Crash" and live rave-up "Defiled." Proof positive that young New Bomb Turk punks are allowed to grow up and their music can improve as a result.