Must've Been High by Supersuckers

Sub Pop

SAY YOU'RE A Supersucker, one of four blasphemous Tucson boys who came barreling out of the desert in '91--via Seattle, natch--to preach a raucous gospel of beer, weed and punkabilly. Your last LP, 1995's Sacrilicious, was an obnoxious tour de force, a smart-assed amalgam of high-octane twang and poppy cowpunk send-up. To many, you're alt-rock's incarnation of Randall "Tex" Cobb's demonic biker in Raising Arizona. Question: Where to go next?

Answer: "... down that old dirt road to the country," according to the liner notes for Must've Been High. Between the ongoing No Depression vogue and the troublingly authentic C&W sound of Ween's last record, going the acoustic backwoods route ain't exactly a bold notion these days. But by preserving the snide self-awareness of their rowdier discography, frontman Eddie Spaghetti and company manage to turn down the amps and fire up the fiddler without inviting poseur tags, kicking some affecting tumbleweed tunage in the process.

Timeless old-timer Willie Nelson (who appears to make a phone-in cameo on the title track) has built a career on writing what he knows, come hell or high water. So when would-be progeny Spaghetti croons about drugs ("Non-Addictive Marijuana"), music press ("The Captain"), and concert security ("Barricade"), you can't fault him for pretense. On "Hungover Together," he pairs with Kelley Deal to squeeze romance out of a grisly morning-after, aided by seamless lap steel; Deal makes a charming Patsy-esque partner, too, and all the more poignant for her real-life recovery-girl status.

In the end, though, their country commitment feels fly-by-night, and the next Supersuckers chapter will likely find them back in their bad-ass rock saddle. But this here's a detour that just happens to be worthwhile.

Supersuckers play Thursday at the 400 Bar.

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