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Damn Bullets

“Electric Folk Boogie” (self-released)

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'ELECTRIC FOLK BOOGIE': Damn Bullets.
  • 'ELECTRIC FOLK BOOGIE': Damn Bullets.

The Damn Bullets are back with more of their unique brand of relentlessly bouncy electrified ragtime. Rarely has such a traditional, old-timey sound been used for such danceable purposes. But that's what the Damn Bullets sound does best: It stops short of being conventional. They take a 1920s style of vocal harmony and add electric guitars where the banjos used to be. And those guitar sounds aren't from the typical Fender Telecaster school of twang; guitarists Paul Morphis and Joe Sundell prefer the more rock-oriented Gibson Les Paul tones.

Their songs definitely lean toward country music more than rock 'n' roll, but you won't find anything resembling tunes about tears, beer or romantic wrongdoing. The closest they get is “Georgia Brown,” which fuses (or confuses, it's hard to tell) the peppiness of “Sweet Georgia Brown” with the lamentation of “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” and in doing so underscores the band's sense of humor and irreverence. Another nod to the past is song length. Only three of the 11 tracks pass the three-minute mark. Brevity is certainly the soul of wit for Damn Bullets.

It's not entirely fun and games, though. The record closes with “Energy of One Bomb,” something of a protest song, or as close as you're going to get in the Damn Bullets format. It lists alternative uses of bomb energy such as “fuel a million homes” and closes with the message, “with the energy of all of you we could stop one bomb.”

Their live show bears mention, for it is there that the band truly comes alive. They've logged a lot of shows together, and it shows in the tightness of their playing. There's a certain shared-brain unity that only comes from gigging nonstop for years. It should be noted while their record is the audio equivalent of a barrel of monkeys; it's still just a calling card for their gigs, and not the other way around. “Electric Folk Boogie” is here for you until the band's next rave-up live show.

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