Hampton Street Stage – 5:15
When The Defibulators released their 2009 album, “Corn Money,” critics described the band’s raucous and straight-to-the-heart music as “Carter Family-meets-Ramones” (AMG) with a “CBGB’s-meets-Grand Ole Opry feel” (Crawdaddy).
With their new album, “Debt’ll Get ‘Em,” the band lives well beyond the promise of their first album and the critics’ praise, delivering a blistering, let’s-get-down-to-the-truth, eclectic mix of musical styles that push and stretch the boundaries of country music by blending genre-bending guitars, fiddles, and banjo with the often haunting vocals of Erin Bru and the won’t-let-you-stop-thinking lyrics of Bug Jennings. One thing’s for sure, the songs on this new album won’t let you sit still, whether it’s the chicken-picking guitars and dance-floor fiddles of “Working Class” or the Commander Cody-like guitar heavy instrumental, “Rumble Strip,” in which Chris Hartway’s guitar moves from Don Rich’s Bakersfield sound to Dick Dale’s surf guitar and Bill Kirchen’s jumping Telecaster grooves. At the same time, on the smoky ballad “Real Slow” Bug Jennings and Erin Bru channel the “Grievous Angel” harmonies of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris.
Every song on the album, according to Jennings, deals with the consequences of not taking debt—both literal and figurative debt—seriously. “Pay for That Money” features Bru’s haunting voice layered over mournful fiddles as well as lush echoing and shimmering guitar chords and asks “what do you get when you burn/through your plastic stacks.” “Working Class” follows the exploits of someone who “grew a crop of credit cards and never saw the bill…[who] could’ve been a doctor…but didn’t see the point to earn/more dough than I could drink.” “Real Slow” and “Let That Ponytail Run” plumb the depths of debt that lovers incur when they chase after the ephemeral beauty of a love that might not ever have been in the bank in the first place.
— by Henry Carrigan