This long-promised long player from the Hickoids has taken on a kind of mythical quality over the last quarter century or so. Hairy Chafin’ Ape Suit delivers on every broken promise — going down like a throat-scalding shooter of garage-rock attitude, Tex-Mex boogie groove and lysergic delirium.
In this way, the album (due August 20, 2013, via Saustex Media) traces the same crooked path as 2011′s hugely entertaining cover-packed Kicking It With the Twits — only this time, the stories of shocking misfortune, blatant dumbassery and self-inflicted hardship (be that from booze, women or one another) take on a more personal bent. And a funnier one, too.
Fronted by vocalist Jeff Smith, the Hickoids storm through these 10 tracks with a twin-guitar attack courtesy of Tony Trusnovic and Davy Jones, alongside eruptive rhythms from bassist Rice Moorehead and Slowpoke Farley. Ultimately, it becomes a testament not just to their swinging tire iron-level ferocity, but also to their fearless sense of musical adventure. The Hickoids are just as apt to touch on boozy honky tonk (the hilarious “If Drinking Don’t Kill Me, Kill Me,” “Side by Side Doublewides”) as they are Texas fusion (“Cool Arrow”), as apt to ramp up into a blistering heartland anthem (“Working Man’s Friend”) as they are grease-popping Southern soul (“Mo Hair”).
As with most projects that have such a long gestation period, Hairy Chafin’ Ape Suit includes a tip of the hat to earlier Hickoids incarnations. “TJ,” for instance, is based in part on a track from Smith and original member Pepe Lopez. “Fruit Fly” was initially done by Lopez’s band Loco Gringos. And there’s a straight line to be drawn from the cowpunk brawn of tracks like “Talking Hot Pants Blues” to their late bassist Dick Hays, as well.
Taking 25 years to put out Hairy Chafin’ Ape Suit gave them time to evolve, both with a changing of the guard in their lineups since 1987′s Hard Corn but also in the Hickoids’ focus on combining their psychobilly narratives with real chops. Unlike so many of these serially delayed projects — Guns n’ Roses, we’re looking at you — Hairy Chafin’ Ape Suit was worth the wait.