What the hell is a Momantha? Anyone? Well, perhaps this is an official warning that Pennsylvania's Backwoods Payback are here to pose questions, not answer them with this, their sophomore album, and their first for Detroit's Small Stone Records. Opener "You Know How This Works" (errr, no, not sure we do) starts inconclusively, ends without warning, and feels rather unfinished, while its follow-up, "Flight Pony," sounds like two songs mashed into one wacky sandwich: the bread made of whole grain Soundgarden dipped in a bucket of bayou muck; the filling taste of Clutch on a particularly heavy acid trip. Keeping faithfully to this curious amalgam, ensuing slugfests such as "Knock Wood," "Parting Words," and the mighty, molten molasses of "Velcro" proceed to leave a trail of viscous slime right down that Soundgarden/Clutch highway -- they may not vary much but they have that queer recipe down cold. Detours? There are a few, including a more energetic, though still Black Sabbath-infused "Lord Chesterfield" and, later, "Timegrinder," as well as a swamp thing/Sgt. Pepper's mutation called "Poncho," but that's about it. So what gives? Are Backwoods Payback abstruse musical yeti-savants? Or just plain stumbling around the studio totally wasted? Honestly, they may be both, but give them credit for digging their own stoner sludge trough and then laying in it. Some listeners will surely eagerly join them, as the music on this sophomore album billows out of the speakers like a dense fog, as disorienting as it is intriguing. Cough!
by Eduardo Rivadavia