For aging punks still enamored of nihilism but tired of playing all those pneumatic downstrokes, the allure of country music isn't hard to see. After all, three out of four of The Ramones are dead, but those guys in Alabama still rise each morning to kick the shit once again. Comprising ex-members of All, Armchair Martian, and The Nobodys, Drag the River picks up where Uncle Tupelo and Whiskeytown left off. And while there's nothing startlingly new about DTR's approach, one must be grateful that Chad Price and Jon Snodgrass have the good sense to keep the irresponsible-drinking-song genre alive. Their 2000 album almost single-handedly put the barf back into barfly, with rowdy roof rattlers like "Barroom Bliss," "Booze and Pills" and the self-explanatory "Get Drunk," all the while readying the regulars for the inevitable loneliness to follow. Last year's EP Hey Buddies kept plugging in the same unplugged direction, so sellout strings, experimental tape loops or a big-name Music Row producer aren't about to plague Drag the River's immediate future.
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