But in a genre where towering coifs rule, where the music revolves around hot rods and hot women, subtlety is sacrilege. Especially to the Lords of the Highway, a band that's bawdy even by the Cramps' oversexed standards. They sing about lovin,' drinkin,' and pukin' -- and after hearing their awkward take on Danzig's "Twist of Cain," you may join the Lords in tossing cookies.
That misstep aside, Lost in Sin compensates with ass-shakin' slap bass, odes to truck-stop waitresses, and alternately snarling and sexy vocals, courtesy of singer-guitarist Dennis A. Bell and femme foil Angel. There are fleet-fingered instrumentals awash in reverb and sweat ("Spy on the Run"), growling rockers that are as overdriven as this stuff gets ("Damn U Miller"), and even a great, drunken waltz ("Devil Made Me Do It").
The Capgun Cowboys practice a bit more restraint, with a repertoire that includes honky-tonk, western swing, and lively two-part harmonies. The album's foot-stompin' rural shout-alongs give way to tears-in-my-beer ballads, all done with a knowing wink that's epitomized by song titles such as "Wal-Mart Wedding." Warm and vintage-sounding, Girls, Cars and Smoke-Filled Bars is characterized by spry strumming, rollicking backbeat, and quaint, layered vocals. The highlight is "Phone Call From Texas," a locomotive, trombone-infused throwback that would be right at home on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.
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