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'Cactusman versus the Blue Demon'   

-  Label: 'Frogville'
-  Genre: 'Alt/Country' -  Release Date: 'January 2006'-  Catalogue No: 'FVR-0038'

Our Rating:
Those folk at Frogville must be pretty hot on the quality control, I haven't heard a bad record from them yet. You can file Boris and his mates under "unclassifiable". In a Wilco-like manner they seem to want to have a go at most genres - for the fun of it, or because each song demands a different setting, or just to show they can. Whatever the reason , the results are pretty impressive.The opening track, "Volcanic Wind", could have been lifted from John Hiatt's songbook, "Chicken Man" is an extended piece of swamp-funk, "Branded" is a near- instrumental not far removed from Calexico's desert music... and so on. On first listen, the stand out track is "Caves of Burgundy", a modern take on an old folk tale and the only song not written by Boris McCutcheon himself. Cheekily opening with a little Dave Rawlings imitation, it soon settles into a cheery groove, offsetting the story of tragic death in a bleakly humorous manner.

Repeated listening however soon brings out the subtler charms of the other twelve tracks, and though for me not everything quite comes off, the best songs have a magical musicality that the listener can happily revel in, and hear new details each time round. Very varied on instrumentation, one of the standouts for me is "Charles Mingus Bird", a slightly jazzy boogie with strummed acoustic guitar, piano and stand-up bass. As for the lyrics, well generally they're elliptical enough that you can take what you want from them: hymns to mother nature, a sad lament for the car that can be no longer held together with duct tape (complete with duct tape sound effect), and stories that might come from life or they might come from desert dreaming. Generally though I think you can say that Boris is amused, and we can all be glad that Frogville have brought us another great band.

(Review also appears on http://www.netrhythms.com
and www.crookedrain.dt)


  author: John Davy

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BORIS & THE SALTLICKS - Cactusman versus the Blue Demon
Cover Art
BORIS & THE SALTLICKS - Cactusman versus the Blue Demon
Cover Art