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Slobberbone tosses country/rock listeners something especially meaty to chew on with their new CD. Whether rockin' out to the Chuck Berry-by-way-of-Johnny-Ramone blast of "Placemat Blues" or sounding like a rougher-edged version of the Old 97's on "Trust Jesus" (a jaunty mandolin-propelled tune about a man on a Kerouac-style roadtrip), this Texas country-rock ensemble clearly knows their chops.

They also know a great deal about white-trash culture. There's a fine moment during the love ballad "Josephine" in which the hero scales a tower and spraypaints his girlfriend's name up there "in the brightest color I've ever seen." The image is worthy of Georgia's own earthy Drive-By Truckers, so it's hardly any surprise when the lead Trucker himself, Patterson Hood, pops up for a gritty guest vocal during "Lazy Guy," a bluegrass-influenced tune complete with a fiddler.

"Lumberlung," in which a sick man laments the sacrifices his ailment imposes on his woman, contains some especially startling imagery drawn from fever-borne delirium; and if you listen closely beneath the bombast of the clever kiss-off song "Some New Town," you'll find vitriolic wordplay worthy of Graham Parker. Combined with the pleasing variety of instruments (banjo, pedal steel) on this record, Slobberbone's latest platter is tasty enough to make even the most jaded alt-country fan start to drool.

Slobberbone plays Smith's Olde Bar, Sat., Aug. 12.

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