The Von Ehrics - Two Foot Stomp
2011, Lucky Buck Records
2011, Lucky Buck Records
Dallas punktry band The Von Ehrics, named after the prominent ECW wrestling family, are back with their fourth album, Two Foot Stomp. With an irrepressible sound and a can-do attitude, The Von Ehrics took seven months to write and rehearse Two Foot Stomp before stepping into a studio with producer Dave Willingham (Polyphonic Spree, Earl Harvin Trio). The result is a blend of punk and country displaying the melodic sensibility of Bob Mould (Husker Du, Sugar). Suffice it to say The Von Ehrics will grab your attention quickly and simply won't let go.
Two Foot Stomp opens with a working class hero anthem entitled "Last Of The Working Slobs". Set in a society that has moved on and forgotten the working class that built it, the song is full of great energy and unfettered angst, and houses a chorus you won't be able to get out of your head. "Gone" is a catchy outsider's anthem that sounds like a cross between the Gin Blossoms and The Refreshments with a bit of outlaw country thrown into the mix. It's an intriguing blend that you'll keep coming back to. "Smokewagon" is a high energy tribute to the band's touring van, likely to target them for being pulled over in most states.
"Lord, I Pray" is an entertaining blend of punkabilly and gospel that's unforgettable. The Von Ehrics obviously had fun in recording this number, as it oozes from every pore of the song. "Rock And Roll" is a catchy song, written for those times when nothing less than rock n roll will do. In spite of the low-fi approach, The Von Ehrics prove to be very musically competent, a fact that is highlighted here. The effort to capture a classic country motif on "Goodbye/The Ride" falls flat, however. It is a sign of things to come, as Two Foot Stomp levels off into solid but unremarkable songs for the rest of the trip. The closing track, "Texas (When I Die)" shows a brief revival of the energy and chutzpah of the first half of the album, but can't save the second half of the album from a somewhat ho-hum assessment in light of what it followed.
The Von Ehrics turn a brilliant and essential 6-song EP into a solid 12-song album with distinctive highlights on Two Foot Stomp. Considering a lot of what is put on the market these days, that's not a knock on the band. It's simply that the first half of the album is so good that the second half stands little chance. There's really not a bad song on the album, which might aptly be called "The Two Sides of The Von Ehrics", but don't be surprised if the first half of the album gets significantly more spins than the second.
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about The Von Ehrics at www.vonehrics.com or www.myspace.com/thevonehrics. Two Foot Stomp is available from Amazon.com as a CD or Download. The album is also available via iTunes.