I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House – Menace
In Music We Trust Records (2005) By Christian K
Since the debacle of the last Presidential election, we’ve been wringing our hands here in the blue states, wondering how to communicate with our smug brethren in Bush country. Kansas may as well be the dark side of the moon; we can’t follow their Republican logic, and they see us as effete bleeding hearts who swill espresso and probably speak French. Is there no way to warn these folks, in their own language, that they are leading our country off a cliff?
Enter Portland’s I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House, the Black Panthers of alt-country and possibly the New Left’s Great White Hope. This band plays the kind of Skynyrd swamp stomp that could sooth savage bikers in St. Louis or Omaha, but singer Mike D isn’t leading the Pledge of Allegiance. No, he’s calling Charlton Heston a rifle-toting whore, inviting us to sodomize Pat Robertson, and generally making shitkicking music fun again. The Left is back, and if any of the rednecks in the audience want to fight, the Left is now happy to oblige.
The band’s third LP, Menace, shows them wading deeper into the bluesy territory of their self-titled first album. Dave Lipkind’s harp is more apparent, and engineer/guitarist Jon Burbank has been doing his homework: the drums are crisp and the guitars are sharp. This doesn’t sound like a basement recording.
The lyrics are also in the same vein, charting a dark course between politics and personal history. Mike D is one of those singers who spills his guts with no coyness or reservations – take it or leave it. His own sordid backstory (one is tempted to piece it together from the songs) is the backbone and source of the band’s angry politics. This batch of songs moves easily between anarchic thrash-outs and downbeat explorations of lost love.
Menace is a worthy release, but it’s still just a snapshot of a vital live band. Seeing a show is the only way to appreciate them, especially the visceral rhythm section of Mole Harris and Flapjack Texas. Few sights in rock and roll compare to this band when the chorus comes around, and there’s a collective jump, and for a moment over a thousand pounds of Sonofabitch hang suspended a few inches above the stage, free from gravity, before crashing back down among the rest of us. By the end of the set, even the neocons will be holding up their lighters and shouting for more. – (7/10)
Note: I Can Lick Any SOB in The House play Seattle’s Premiere April 1 with the Supersuckers and the Reverend Horton Heat.