blood and treasureThere’s no-one better qualified to decry “this counterfeit world” than Pat Todd as he does on the opening cut of the same name on his new album.

Todd’s been The Real Deal for three decades, first with Los Angeles underground legends The Lazy Cowgirls and more recently with The Rankoutsiders. “Blood & Treasure” is long=player number-four and builds on a substantial body of work.

People sometimes look down their noses at the term “bar band”. Why is a mystery. Isn’t a “bar band” the antithesis of a “stadium band”? Todd has assembled one of the world’s best bar bands in The Rankoutsiders and it would be a travesty to think of them playing Coachella.

The Rankoutsiders are where Americana meets punk rock. A little country, a lot bluesy and a lot cleaner and straight-ahead than the Cowgirls, “Blood & Treasure” nevertheless follows a time-honoured Todd tradition of busting genres and burying preconceptions. If you’re into pigeonholes, cut your losses and call it rock and roll.

The pared-back “Stand Up & Sass Back” tones down the punk bluster but it’s still urgent and fresh. “Don’t Go Selling Emptiness To Me” is a furious rocker laced with Todd’s lyrical smarts. “Just Another Broken Day” is classic country blues that The Supersuckers would be proud to lay claim to with some killer harmonica from Jeremy White the icing on the cake. No wonder Eddie Spaghetti is an unabashed fan.

There are rockers to satisfy old fans with “Sometimes You Eat The Bear, Somedays The Bear Eats You” and “Sugar Coated Love” stand-outs.

With a past Cowgirls engine room driving the machine and two adept guitarists in Nick Alexander and Kevin Keller who know when not to play, this is one capable band. Ex-Sparks guitarist Earle Mankey does the business on production and has delivered a clear and punchy soundscape where the songs have room to breathe. And they are great songs which is where less durable underground bands fall by the wayside.

Honesty is a reviewer’s most over-used word. Unpretentious is a better fit for “Blood & Treasure”. No tricks. no gimmicks. The Real Deal. It’s on vinyl via German label Hound Gawd with a download code.


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