Country Mice, Make Your Own Damn Fun EP

Country Mice, Make Your Own Damn Fun EP

After several listens, I have to say that Country Mice’s Make Your Own Damn Fun 7″/EP wins the award for the most schizophrenic musical identity scattered across the fewest number of actual songs. A-side “A Good Old-Fashioned Barn Raising” starts deceptively, rumbling in like a full-on Son Volt-esque roots-rocker, all semi-distorted guitars and shambling rhythms, but then the guitar line takes a weirdly Phrygian turn, and frontman Jason Rueger comes in with treated vocals that sound like they’re coming out of a smashed boombox, and the band morphs into a countrified, less-paranoiac Clinic (minus the organ).

Then, just like nothing at all had happened, they slide smoothly into “Ballad of John” for the B-side, which is pretty much bare-bones roots-rock, and nicely-done roots-rock, at that. The song rolls along gently, unfolding the story of a Midwestern family working a living out of the earth and staying as close to their small-town world as possible, with Rueger sounding more like Ryan Adams than anybody else, singing about the (his?) family with genuine love and warmth in his voice.

It’s a gorgeous little track, hopeful and life-affirming even as it waves goodbye, and is about a 180 turn from “Barn Raising.” On the bad side, I’m left feeling like I still don’t really know who Country Mice are, what they sound like as a whole — knotty post-punk or downhome country-rock? On the good, however, it’s pretty obvious that the band can do both damn well.

(Feature photo by Matt Barber.)

[Country Mice are playing 3/15/11 at the SXSW Overflow Fest at Super Happy Fun Land, along with a bunch of other bands.]
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Review by . Review posted Tuesday, March 15th, 2011. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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One Response to “Country Mice, Make Your Own Damn Fun EP”

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » SXSW Overflow 2011: Day Seven (Rooftop Vigilantes, Secret Mountains, Country Mice, Chris Bathgate, & More) on March 15th, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    […] more mystifying is the fact that it works on both ends of the band’s bizarro equation. See here for a full review of their Make Your Own Fun […]

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