The Jive Turkeys

Sounds from the Idiodyssey

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When thinking of words to describe the Jive Turkeys' 2001 Derailleur debut, Sounds From the Idiodyssey, one word in particular keeps coming to mind: greasy. This term isn't necessarily related to the band itself (well, perhaps after a couple of weeks touring in a van it is), but to the general tone of the music. The brand of whiskey- and weed-laced bluesy rock the band dishes out is of the variety best witnessed at greasy, dingy dive bars, such as those found in the band's hometown of Columbus, OH. Josh Kayser's gritty, throaty vocals and sleazy blues-rock guitar swagger are in perfect harmony with the band's raucous horn section. Now, horn sections in typical rock bands are generally reserved for faux ska posturing or saccharine balladry, but the Jive Turkeys are no typical rock band. The sax and trumpet stylings of Brad Caulkins and John Bachman, respectively, pack the sort of wallop and attitude normally reserved for windmilling guitar players. The record is well-paced, beginning with mid-tempo rockers like "Pork Brains and Milk Gravy" and "Charleston, WV" and sliding into the laid-back vocal harmony-driven "Sugar Daddy." A song that gets hips shaking live, "Gun Metal Blues" is chock-full of horn swells, dirty guitars, and fuzzy silver bullet-style vocals. Two slow, acoustic numbers pop up on Sounds, "Look Out Below" and "Month of Sundays." The former finds the normally purposefully coarse-voiced Kayser cleaning up his style and turning in a sweetly soft-spoken performance. While both are likable enough, they interfere with the momentum so carefully established by the album's other, more rocking compositions. "Take Out Your Knife" is a lazy-day song that seems well suited for, say, a Country Time Lemonade commercial, evoking images of letting the day slide by sprawled out on the back porch. The percussive guitars of "Go Back" kick the record into high gear and the brawling, greasy attitude continues through "Headstomper," but is replaced by a surprisingly effective and fairly un-ironic disco take on "Ride Home" and the smoove (which is, of course, smoother than smooth) falsettos of "Talk to Me." The Jive Turkeys have even earned a modest amount of local airplay with "Nantucket Sleighride" (no relation to the Mountain song of the same name). On the whole, Sounds From the Idiodyssey is exactly what the Jive Turkeys' debut record should be: full of bravado, rock attitude, and blues riffs and, to their credit, they didn't clean things up too much, which is a mistake that bands known for their rowdy live shows often make.

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