Bobby and his Young Criminals’ Starvation League’s latest is a frothy, brilliant, genre-bending mongrel. There are dreamy pop songs sung by folks not ready to turn their backs on the visceral joys of gutter punk. There’s a shameless embrace of groovy SoCal country rock. There are sharp, soulful Stax-style horn blasts thrown to the dark, moist corners of the studio where the irrepressibly cool indie rock kids hang out with their Morphine records. There are sparse, harrowing, timeless recordings recast from the fields and hollers and dropped, half a century later, into the back of a rock band\'s shitty van and the shitty dressing rooms of a million shitty clubs. It is brimming with south of the hips R&B swagger layered over primeval murder ballad improbably and impressively thrown next to orchestral/discordant droning prog-roots. There is a love of the Brill Building, as well as Music Row, CBGB\'s and the gas station outside Memphis where the van broke down.
It is a beautiful, funny, heartbreaking, ambitious, hypnotic, lovesick and lovelorn lyrical knockout of a record. Joining him in the Starvation League this time around are guests like Andrew Bird, Paul Burch, Duane Denison (The Jesus Lizard), Will Oldham (Palace Bros.), Paul Niehaus (Calexico, Lambchop), and Deanna Varagona (Lambchop). It also contains the best songs EVER about being in a touring band and about Nashville.
Taken as a whole, From the End of Your Leash plays like an album of love songs to music itself; we never know where it will lead us, and Bobby and the crew cannot be bothered to question where the muse will drag them next. The trip won\'t ever be dull, we can promise you that.