Guest Contributor: Michael Dallas Miller
Get Busy Dying, the debut record from used-to-do-the-punk-thing rockers Tin Horn Prayer, could be described as something else besides a beer-soaked mashing of unlikely styles, a sloppy-mud-mashing folking good time, or a cursing swing of amplified country. But it won’t let you do so, because that is what the album truly is. It is a record that wants to kick your desk speakers in the head and transform your room, your ear-phone meanderings, and your daily commute into a Friday night at the dirtiest bar you know. Then, Tin Horn Prayer wants to destroy that bar in a flurry of fuzzed-out blues guitar, brawling vocals, half-angry riffs that lead into pure folk-punk aggression, just to leave you stumbling and wishing for one more beer and one more encore.
“Better Living” opens the record with a pure country chord, and as the band joins and the vocals come down like a gruff kick-in-the-mouth, the purpose becomes clear: take the angst of a punk-rock attitude, give it some teeth, and then make it boogie and sway with old-timey textures, themes, and instrumentation. And the purpose is reached and the purpose is good. So, if you want a little violence in a bluegrass rhythm (“Crime Scene Clean-Up Team”), a little schizophrenic vengeance in a waltz (“Devil Makes Me”), or some mid-90’s energy in a story about WWII (“1939”), then pull up a bar stool, listen up, and grab the first cold beer you find. This record is certainly for you.
Everyone who lives has bad weeks, so a good way to let loose and forget the troubles of bad days gone by is found in what Tin Horn Prayer has to offer. The band presents familiar sounds with something more and something different than riotous anger, but no less cathartic. Get Busy Dying is not some namby-pamby sing-along: this is a yell-along, drink-along, carry-on-all-night-long sort of record.