Whiskey Dick

Pop Culture Bulimia

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Whiskey Dick's second album, Pop Culture Bulimia, is a genuine improvement over his debut, Love Tap, though the title is a tip-off that the guy's idea of a great joke hasn't changed much over the course of three years, as are tunes like "Kuntry," "Shake Your Baby" and "Daddy Was a Whore-Killin' Hockey Coach." The biggest problem with Dick's devotion to bad-taste humor is he isn't all that good at it -- he lacks a Mojo Nixon-style zest for the forbidden, his delivery lacks the timing and thrust of a good comic, and most of the time he comes off as a folkie trying to impress us with his bad attitude. But when he sets down the white trash bit for a moment on "Bones of a Dream" and "Wyoming, Michigan," Dick (apparently the alter ego of one J.R. Powell) shows off a solid, emphatic voice and a real knack for acoustic blues guitar figures, and "Abducted by Republican Aliens" and "Kuntry" put enough steam behind their shtick to make 'em work. And Dick's backing band (including Verve Pipe guitarist A.J. Dunning on one cut) add just enough energy to the mix without overwhelming the headliner. Pop Culture Bulimia only works part of the time, but those parts sit closer together than on Love Tap, and while this guy is a matter of taste if there ever was such a thing, his talent is more clearly evident the second time at bat.

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