Written By: Darwin Green
Mike Herrera of MXPX, turns the levels up on production level and originality to present an alt-country, punk, psychobilly work of art.
As though taking a blessing from the Reverend Horton Heat’s self-described “country-fed punkabilly” sound, Mike Herrera makes it his own, leaving little room for detractors. Shifting from country acoustic folk songs to all-American punk rock, a la Social Distortion to the punkabilly-fueled drive of Horton Heat mentioned above, Herrera exposes some veins not before shown in his musical repertoire. Herrera draws out of these genres what the audience takes in from listening: pure, unadulterated, dynamite quality music straight from the heart.
He’s basically taken all of the passion evident in his punk rock days and applied them to apparently suppressed feelings of the country spirit. One can feel the boots stomping on floors covered in sawdust soaking up the beer spilt from the outer edges of the mosh pit. Where Horton Heat broke through Herrera has revitalized and refined. Each song, whatever style, delivers blows from the feelings of abandonment, loss, and irreverence country music best evokes. Funny enough, punk best reveals the same categories of emotion. No wonder the mix makes for good bedfellows.
“Son of a Gun,” among others, stands out both lyrically and musically. The singer mentions his days are numbered, and in a bluesy fashion the backing singer actually counts the numbers. The song has a great melody, a great hook, and great lyrics to boot (no pun intended). Its stripped-down style fits with the yearning sentimentality that it expresses.