CMJ - 10/2/00, p.24
"...With head-spinning banjo playing and freestyle yodeling, the Auto Club emphasizes both the C and the W of C&W equally..."
Personnel includes: Jay Munly.
Contains 13 tracks.
Recording information: Bluebird Theater; Catacombs of Westminster; Le Studio Absenta.
Like a backwoods Pentecostal preacher on a bender, Denver's Slim Cessna's Auto Club careens around their third release with a whisky bottle in one fist and a bible in the other. Songs like "Jesus Christ," "Water Into Wine," and "Unto the Day" seem sober enough upon first glance, but in the hands of this crew, looks are deceiving. Mixing generous helpings of spaghetti Western tremeloed guitar, country & western, hillbilly, bluegrass, and even klezmer into their gospelized rock & roll, Slim and his band walk hand in hand with the devil and Jesus, seemingly unsure of which they're most comfortable with. Themes of redemption and damnation sit side by side here. With his hyperactive, trembling Stan Ridgway-styled vocals and an arsenal of acoustic instruments including banjo, harmonium, pedal steel, auto harp, fiddle, and accordion, Cessna howls, pants, and most stunningly yodels (especially in the appropriately titled "Goddamn Blue Yodel #7") his odes of sin and salvation as if hellhounds are nipping on his trail. Waltz time dirges alternate with double-time barn burners like "Last Song About Satan," a sort of "Devil Went Down to Georgia" story that, with lyrics like "Lucifer you piece of sh--, I should kick your ass right where you sit," won't be hitting number one in the Bible belt regardless of its fire and brimstone intentions. Not that these fellas will be thumping their Good Books in a church near you. Even when they sound sincere, there's a subtle yet incisive tongue-in-cheek attitude here that throws questions of their seriousness in the air, only aided by band members who cloak themselves in names like Danny Pants and Dwight Pentacost. The spiritual band for people who hate spiritual bands, Slim Cessna's Auto Club drives home their Christian sermons on a crooked road filled with devilish potholes. ~ Hal Horowitz