Consumer Guide Album
Ass Ponys: Some Stupid With a Flare Gun [Checkered Past, 2000]
Chuck Cleaver has always been in it for the vignettes--for situations evoked or described in words, pithy words. But as he declares himself a lifer--his first album in four years and fifth overall brings him to age 40--he reveals himself a bandleader. His seasoned rhythm section and strapping guitarist get so far into the guts of the songs you wish they hadn't wasted Electric Rock Music on the last one even though they had a sillier title ready. Cleaver's corkscrew falsetto bores into the high-strung music to transform lots of death and a third nipple into the stuff of noisy desperation, desperate celebration, etc. It's alt-country only insofar as it favors forms and farms. But if shit shovelers can convince Cleaver the cosmos has a niche for him, I'm ready to forgive all the fiddle fills.