SLICK FIFTY SEVEN

"The Ghost of Bonnie Parker"

Laughing Outlaw

In these days of excessive musical specialization, it makes sense that there would be more than one brand of country-punk. The music of Slick Fifty Seven is twangy and rollicking, sort of like the Mekons, but its punky side is more akin to Green Day. The trio's third album opens with "Nervous Wreck," a country shuffle a Blink 182 fan could love, and peaks with "Heading to My Ex-Girlfriend's Wedding," whose steel-guitar licks yield to a pure-pop vocal chorale. "Swashbuckler, TX" suggests the band has closely studied "The Notorious Byrd Brothers."

Slick Fifty Seven is based in Dallas, but its sound isn't all that Texified. That may be because founders John Pedigo and Ward Richmond were attending college in New England for the first three years of the band's career. Although there's plenty of pedal-steel on this album, it's all played by sidemen. Should the threesome ever decide to divest its rootsy routine to pursue the pop-punk of songs like "Jessica," it won't even have to fire anybody.

-- Mark Jenkins

Appearing Saturday at the Grog and Tankard. * To hear a free Sound Bite from Slick Fifty Seven, call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 and press 8123 . (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)