Rocket Surgery

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From the Byrds to Steve Earle, it is always interesting to hear a rock band fully and warmly embrace their country-rock heritage, which is clearly the case with Mulehead's third release, Rocket Surgery. Wholeheartedly leaping into honky tonk whiskey ballads with elements of straightforward rock, the band stomps and struts their way through 14 tracks of pure hayseed boogie; always with a nod to solid rock songwriting and throaty yowls, keeping the sound slyly contemporary. Led by songwriter Kevin Kerby, these four punk rock cowboys tell tough stories about men who train their mules with two-by-fours and write gruff love songs to girls with crooked spines. The band's indie attitude is best expressed by the back cover of the album, which shows an interstate road sign with an arrow to Nashville pointing one direction, and an arrow to "Hope" pointing the exact opposite way. While it's true the band's middle-finger stance won't get them far on music row, they seem to be doing just fine on their own.

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