NQ Arbuckle Hanging The Battle-Scarred Pinata

NQ Arbuckle is the kind of guy you want to sit beside in a bar, listening to him tell stories all night. It’s actually something I’ve done, but that’s beside the point; this album is the next best thing. In fact, the booklet should include an explicit note that consuming liquor should be mandatory accompaniment. Arbuckle’s songs range from heartbreaking character studies ("Punk Rocker”) to heartbreaking expressions of affection ("Song For Deborah”). Yet they’re always engaging. Arbuckle possesses the rough edged romanticism of Richard Buckner and early Joe Henry, which is nicely captured on tape by Luke Doucet. His is not the most pleasant world to step into, one populated by chainsaw fiddle players, people who drink like Swaggarts and girls who smoke so much that they might be on fire, but it’s a world that, like your favourite bar, is nice to escape to every so often. Hanging The Battle-Scarred Pinata is an outstanding debut. (Six Shooter)