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Honky | Balls Out Inn | review | rock | Lollipop


Balls Out Inn (Small Stone)
By Brian Varney

Small Stone puts another tick in the "win" column with the latest release from Honky, a band that manages to excel in an especially overcrowded genre. Heavy rock bands playing the role of Southern gentlemen are about as hard to find these days as spilled beer in a bar, and as so many of these bands reach only for the broadest visual stereotypes and expend even less elbow grease on developing a sound and decent material, the form also has one of the lowest success ratios around.

And yet Honky succeeds wildly. For one thing, Honky is a true Texas band, which is not necessarily a prerequisite for success when playing Southern rock, but it sure helps, especially when the music you're playing is so uniquely Texan. By building upon the demented foundations laid by Texas weirdos ZZ Top (a far stranger band than you might realize) and hints of less obvious influences like art-punkers the Dicks and brothers-by-buggery the Butthole Surfers and tossing generous hunks of classic, less geographically-specific kick-ass like Sammy-era Montrose (see "Gittin' It," which sounds like it could've come from the first Montrose LP sessions) into the kettle along with the band's surprisingly canny songwriting knack, what results is the great album Raging Slab should've made, but never did.

Of the 13 songs, many will demand repeated plays and your prolonged attention, but some of my personal favorites include "Walkin' on Moonshine," a stumbling drunk with a hint of Butthole Surfers dementia and a perfectly incongruous fiddle solo, the Skynyrd-esque "Broken Days," and the title track, which features another dead-on Montrose-era Sammy Hagar vocal impersonation. Put 'em on a stage with American Dog and you can damn near guarantee the bar a night of record-high beer sales.


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