Smile Politely

Review: Dastardly’s Bury Me in the Country

At first glance, there are obvious characteristics of a record called Bury Me in the Country. Anyone with an ounce of experience (or common sense, for that matter) listening to music could understand what this record might sound like. That means I’m ultimately judging the book by it’s cover, right? Well, with Dastardly’s new record, all of those assumptions might be correct, which doesn’t necessarily mean that listening to this album will be something that you regret because you’ve heard records with a similar identity. The name of a record ultimately gives it an identity — and what the band has done here is craft a downright rugged and rootsy folk album. What’s wrong with that? 

Part of what I mean by “rootsy folk” is the fact that no more than ten minutes pass and there’s already a “yodelayhee” chant, dueling banjos and banging foot-stomping rhythms. These things don’t stereotype the album into being a bland alt-country album, but they certainly give the listener some type of context into understanding the picture Dastardly has painted here. Just by looking at the names of the tracks you can paint the picture for yourself.

While I was listening to the record I read the liner notes, which said, “We recorded this record mostly live in a wood panel laundry room with a large bottle of bourbon. It got pretty rowdy. Our engineer doesn’t remember the last half of the session.” Even if I hadn’t read those few sentences, I would’ve known that those things bleed into the songs that they put onto tape here.  “Freight Train” reminds us that even if the deck is stacked against us, there’s always a cure to those ailments. Soaking up the good in life and keeping the mind focused on what is important allows most of us to stay on track.

These songs exemplify rootsy rock in great form throughout. There are only five, so it’s difficult to stray far away if you’re going to have a central theme and make it make sense. Singing about whiskey, love, broken morals, pissing people off, and more whiskey, Dastardly craft a more improved version of their debut May You Never… with more emphasis on upbeat sing-a-longs that get even the bartender excited, even though booze is spilling all over his bar.

There’s a lot of character within these tracks, and most of it involves Dastardly being a really fun band to listen to. It would’ve been easy to say this was a fusion of The Avett Brothers and Delta Spirit, but Bury Me in the Country entices all types of tastebuds, and whichever ones they hit it seems to taste good — and boy does it go down strong.

Dastardly’s “Fever” video

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