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Album Review

Following the departure of keyboard player Chris Bess, Southern Culture on the Skids have pared themselves back down to a three-piece on their eighth full-length album, Mojo Box. While it's not quite a return to the gloriously greasy stomp of such early classics as For Lovers Only and Ditch Diggin', there is a significantly lower "novelty" factor here than they have displayed since their move up to the big leagues with Dirt Track Date, and the relatively leaner sound agrees with them. While SCOTS are a good-time band if there ever was one, a "funny for the sake of funny" vibe was starting to sink into the band's sound, but Mojo Box finds Rick Miller's songwriting displaying a keener focus than has been heard in years, and his bizarro-world redneck fantasias of luxury mobile homes, hot babes in halter tops, and classic muscle cars play more to his strengths than, say, "House of Bamboo" or "Make Mayan a Hawaiian." Miller's guitar work is in typically stellar form, too, while bassist Mary Huff holds down the bottom end with both efficiency and imagination (and sounds good on her vocal features) and drummer Dave Hartman is still making the clatter that matters. While Mojo Box has more than a few keyboard overdubs (including one guest spot from the departed Bess) and sounds pretty tidy by this band's standards, it still harks back to what made Southern Culture on the Skids more than just a batch of funny redneck jokes, and this is a welcome gesture back to classic form. Gotta love the twang-tastic cover of the Creation's "Biff Bang Pow" too!

Biography

Formed: 1985 in Chapel Hill, NC

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

True to their name, North Carolina's Southern Culture on the Skids offers an affectionate parody of local white-trash trailer-park culture, matching their skewed outlook with a wild, careening brand of rock & roll. SCOTS' music is a quintessentially Southern-fried amalgam of rockabilly, boogie, country, blues, swamp pop, and chitlin circuit R&B, plus a liberal dose of California surf guitar, a hint of punk attitude, and the occasional mariachi horns. Following an early incarnation as a relatively...
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Mojo Box, Southern Culture On the Skids
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