Release Date: 5/19/09
Label: End Sounds
Reviewer: Tyler Hess
Let’s get something out of the way first, this album isn’t going to be marketed to what we generally refer to as the “Christian market”, despite being the side project of MxPx frontman/bassist Mike Herrera. As much as we love debating over Christians bands versus Christians in a band all day long, this record is mostly about drinking and the life that surrounds it. If that didn’t do it for you, then the use of “d***” (I think you know what that refers to, right?) in the song, “Let’s Drink” probably put this straight to the general market. I could have just decided not to post this at all or to post it over at IVM’s sister zine, Taking Over, but I felt people would want to know, rather than be left in the dark. There are, however, a few spiritual over tones, just not enough to really consider it an overlying theme.
But what about music? The difference between Tumbledown and MxPx very simply comes down to the instrumentation, as the vocals, pace and lyrical attacks all sound very familiar. These tracks just as easily could have been put to some power chords and back beats for a punk sound, but in reality are basically just a collection of alt-country songs that should be taken with a light spirit (pun not intended) as they are generally upbeat and fun to bop the head to. Essentially, take an MxPx song and add some banjo and you’re going to understand what is going on here. The best example and my favorite song is “Butcher of San Antone”, which is eerily similar to “Chop Shop” from Secret Weapon. Nothing like a good mass murderer story to brighten one’s day.
Overall: Quite frankly, it is surprising how easy of a transition it was to go from being a nasally punk singer to a nasally country singer, but he has done it very effectively. Still, I don’t think it is quite time for him to quit his day job. This record, like an old country home, is quaint, but doesn’t hold a candle to MxPx.