Album Review

Bare Jr. - Brainwasher

Bobby Bare Jr. - Brainwasher

Though Nashville based, and fronted by the son of country legend Bobby Bare, Bare Jr. play punchy modern rock, albeit with a twangy twist. On Brainwasher, the band's second CD, leader Bobby Jr.'s personal struggles are wittily parodied once more. "My mind's so dirty, I've got mud running out of my ears," he sings in the catchy power-chorded title track, his dandy, cracked yelp ringing with unapologetic sexual desire. On the other hand, more romantically smitten, he blurts desperately, "I'll rub your feet, I'll scratch your back" in the slow-tempo boogie "If You Choose Me". Relationship songs are a forte of the band (now a quartet, still boasting dulcimer player Tracy Hackney). The band reaped the tragi-comedy hit "You Blew Me Off" from its stultifyingly titled 1998 debut disc Boo-tay. Beyond songs of sexual frustration and romantic desperation, Bare exposes a darker tangle of emotions. The clever satire "Why Do I Need A Job?" is set to a bar-roomy western waltz and presents a bragging trailer-trash slacker whose lack of fulfillment is palpable. The murky-mooded "God" is a portrait of the spiritually barren. And the country punk closer, "Gasoline Listerine", finds Bare, a onetime rehab tenant, declaring, "I am boring and useless, my skeletons are fab-u-lously unique." More impressive than irony, power chords, and a legendary father is Bare's gut-level honesty. In the best country tradition, Bare Jr.'s songs come from the heart; but hey, they rock too.
Artist Bobby Bare Jr.
Album Brainwasher
Label Virgin
Author Linda Laban
Other tags Issue #32