Cowboy Mouth

In the aftermath of the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina on their hometown of New Orleans, Cowboy Mouth's new album finds the bandmates bloodied but unbowed. Voodoo Shoppe is the boldest, brashest album of their collective career. A set of songs that pays tribute to both their influences and environs, the disc also finds them staking out their own stance. "Joe Strummer" more or less sets the tone, the singer decrying a punk poser who "didn't know who Joe Strummer was ..." and sending up a howl of defiance that's decidedly more Clash than Cajun. It's all-out balls-to-the-wall from that point on, a steady assault fueled by kick-ass choruses and riveting refrains. "Misty Falls," "Slow Down," "This Much Fun," "Supersonic," and "Glad to Be Alive" soar to dizzying heights of sheer exhilaration. The band then takes pause to pay hometown homage on "Home" and "The Avenue," a pair of heartfelt anthems that provide the album's only real respite. While Cowboy Mouth often seems content to chew up tunes and spit them out with abandon, these latter tracks demand time to digest.

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Lee Zimmerman