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DIVORCE- Naysayers and Yesmen/Laugh
Now Cry Later (Street
Anthem Records) Johnny Cash is responsible for this, at least a little
bit. And I’m not saying this
just because Reno Divorce does a nice cover of Johnny’s “Guess Things
Happen That Way” (though I wish they would’ve worked the original
“ba-doop-badoo’s” into it somehow).
I say this because a good portion of this disc sounds a lot like
Social Distortion, and particularly the aspects of Social Distortion
(okay, Mike Ness) that joyfully and unabashedly trumpet the hard luck,
loveable, free-spirited loser so often present in old J.R. Cash’s best
songs. Case-in-point, “He’s a Fuck Up,” an instantly likeable,
unapologetic look at the singer’s The
Outsiders-like high school persona.
There are also some classic-themed tough bitch done me wrong songs
here (“M.O.,” “Girls I Coulda Fucked,” and the manic, pounding,
very fun “What Were You Saying?”).
And while Reno Divorce display these very obvious influences, they
certainly can’t be classified as, say, Social Distortion, Jr. (and
speaking of bands with “Jr.” in their name – and I can only think of
one- was their ever a Dinosaur Sr.?).
While “All She Wants To Know” features their hardscrabble,
everyman hero AND a sassy young thing who won’t take any shit from him,
these guys still manage to make this song sound their own, and I love the
somewhat unexpected tender final line. “Laugh Now Cry Later,” while
also seemingly focused on a traditional theme, still comes off as very
them. It’s a hopeful song about a juvenile delinquent who finds true
love, grows up and has a good life, despite the earlier bullshit he was
involved in. It’s probably obvious that I love Johnny Cash and Social
D., and while I haven’t yet elevated Reno Divorce to this same lofty
status, it’s impossible for me not to like these guys.
I think you will, too. –Ben Hunter