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Nerf Herder

Nerf Herder

American Cheese (Honest Don's)
by Scott Hefflon

Ah, now this is what we want from Nerf Herder... Unlike the last record that used their "random silliness" schtick and mostly just came across as useless and forgettable, the songs on American Cheese nail it, like the now classic "Sorry" and "Van Halen" from the debut. And even when the lyrics aren't "profound," they make a lot of sense. "Jägermeister and Captain Crunch, nicotine and The Brady Bunch" and "No, you needn't shed a tear/cuz I've got waffles and I've got beer/and I've got Mr. Belvedere" from "Welcome to My World" open American Cheese off right, followed quickly by "High Five Anxiety," an apt description of the sweats you get as you shuffle your feet, waiting to be picked by shirt or skin team captains. If you've ever been left hanging on a high five, you know the feeling.

The next few songs are about girls ("[I wanna] New Wave Girl," [you don't wanna boyfriend, what you want is] "Mr. Spock," and "Jacket," about how every ice cream stain, blood stain, and lipstick stain itemizes yet another broken-hearted failed relationship). Next up is "Rock City News," which quotes both Journey and Jon Bon Jovi about how to succeed as a band (Hint: don't play a Squire [oh, but a Hondo is "cool"? I think not]). "Cashmere" is kinda like the debut's "Golf Shirt," the anti-player chatting-up of girls. Unlike the (usually empty) bravado of wanna-be Kid Rock/Eminem "bad asses," this is the "geek chic" version. "You've got the GPA, but where's the dirty love?" it asks. Yeah, that's the question of the ages, huh kids? And while people can tell you the tough guys will be cutting your grass and pumping your gas in a few years, it doesn't help when you get thrown in the showers fully clothed yet again, does it?

Then comes "Nervous Breakdown" and I don't really know what it's about. Next up is "Jenna Bush Army" (JBA, a new take on JFA: Jodie Foster Army) which touts why Jenna Bush rules. Following is "Defending the Faith," a Weezeresque rolling tune using Headbanger's Ball metal to show how you have to stand by your dreams and fight the good fight. While I'd slap SUM 41 or any ironic hipster pukes for this, I trust Nerf Herder actually did grow up on metal and mean this sincerely, and are secure enough to poke fun at themselves for it. "Busted" is about catching your girlfriend with another guy. And closer "New Jersey Girl" is a swaying sing-a-long. Lazy but heartfelt as only masters can pull off, Nerf Herder have the right stuff. And this, their third full-length, shows 'em humbly "strutting" it.
(PO Box 192027 San Francisco, CA 94119)  


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