I'll admit - I have a bit of a problem with modern blues. For me, blues, real blues ended in the 1940's with the likes of Robert Johnson and Hudie William "Leadbelly" Ledbetter. When you're a black man in the deep south, you best believe you're gonna have the blues. Nowadays, what the fuck are you bitching for?
Boxcar Satan never purported to be authentic delta blues. They play blues with a toothy (alright, maybe missing the front few) grin and a joie-de-vive that keeps me from complaining too much. Despite the fact that singer Sanford Allen really wants to be Tom Waits. Don't get me wrong, loving Tom Waits is never a bad thing but trying to sound like him is usually a lost cause. Ask Scarlett Johannson.
So, in Boxcar Satan we have a trio of individuals that can, at times pull off a washtub blues act that, with a heavy bass rhythm ala Morphine, with sporadic guitar and a Bob Log III-style tongue-in-cheek isn't so bad on another listen. In Ghostwriter, we have an individual with more of a punk sensibility to the proceedings.
Together we have Hobo Nouveau, a horrible title for a better-than-average album.
Thirteen tracks in all in the pseudo-gothic vein some originals, some covers (including a decent version of Bob Dylan's "Serve Somebody").
I don't have to tell you people that this style of music rarely works at best, it sounds like a passable knockoff of others gone before. Tolerable, but a knockoff, nonetheless. As is the mantra for most album reviews these days - there's nothing new here. I say this not as an elitist but as one who cares. One who searches, one who pines for fresh exciting sounds for his ear-holes, but rarely finds them. Hobo Nouveau isn't that sound, but it's enough to make me want to take a break before beginning the search anew.