Like Tiger Woods on the senior circuit, the thrash-happy Neckbones look a bit out of place on the Fat Possum label, best known for its stable of veteran country bluesmen. But the Oxford, Miss.-based quartet is taking full advantage of the situation, subverting blues and rock traditions like a bunch of young punk racketeers.
In many ways, "The Lights Are Getting Dim" is in keeping with Fat Possum's track record. The music is primitive, the vocals raw, the songs a litany of woes. Still, roadhouse collides with garage, producing a reckless and clangorous hybrid that celebrates the quartet's punk leanings. "Sick Twists" suggest what sounds might have developed had the Ramones grown up playing in southern juke joints, while "Possum Breath," "Capitol Hill" and "Get My Kicks" point to such influences as David Johansen, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed. With the help of Blue Mountain's fiddler and mandolinist Cary Hudson, the band lowers the volume and the tempo on the world weary ballad "Red Wagon," ending the album on a sentimental note. But railing and shouting is what they do best, especially when guitarists David Boyer and Tyler Keith are turning some Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley riffs on their heads.
Appearing Tuesday at the Garage.
To hear a free Sound Bite from the Neckbones, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8104. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)