Bobby Bare Jr.'s Young Criminals Starvation League The Longest Meow

Following the brilliant diversity of 2004’s From the End of Your Leash, Bare Jr. and all his rowdy friends take a definite turn on The Longest Meow, attempting to capture their ragged glory on tape in one 11-hour session. The cast — including My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Carl Broemel and Patrick Hallahan, along with Trail Of Dead’s Doni Schroader, and Lambchop’s Deanna Varagona — sound surprisingly well-prepared for the task, and successfully carry out Bare Jr.’s twisted blend of hard rock and country, mixed with an oddball sense of humour. Songs that fall into this last category are often the most interesting. By the time the album hits the halfway point with "Uh Wuh Oh,” it’s clear that the party is starting to get out of control. Things only get stranger from there with "Demon Valley,” "Mayonaise Brain,” and the majestic "Borrow Your Cape.” An acoustic cover of the Pixies’ "Where Is My Mind” brings a little perspective, and helps bring proceedings to a logical conclusion. It might be tempting to say that Bare Jr. got lucky with this project, but even with such an eccentric collection of material, the strength of the performances is undeniable. (Bloodshot)