Songs for the Saddle Sore: how well do comedy music and NWOCR blend together?

Comedy country-rock band Bootyard Bandits have been floating around the UK underground scene for a couple of years now, gaining more and more momentum seemingly with each passing month. I end up seeing them on more and more festival line-ups, which is a great thing, and initially discovered them myself after a frankly fantastic recommendation from Spotify. Because of that, I have heard of a good four or more of the songs on this album already, but I have to say I do like them and I am excited to review them properly. Join me in checking out this review, things are about to get silly!

Straight away with the opening track ‘M.I.L.F’, you can see what I mean. Bursting into a great, speedy country-rock riff, the song oozes sleaze and attitude. The feel and tempo keep up throughout the song and the lyrics immediately pull no punches. Singing about a beautiful woman in ridiculous detail who the band would essentially like to be dominated by, it sets the tone for the album and the band’s sound and style pretty perfectly. However, do not let the crudeness distract from the great instrumentation. The breakdown riff after the second chorus is great, boarding on metal with its heaviness, and the lyrics over the top add to the awesomeness. I was hoping for a guitar solo to complete the greatness of this song but it didn’t happen, we instead got another awesome chorus to close things out. A damn good opening song for what is going to be a ridiculous album, I’m sure.

Next up is one I have heard before and my personal favourite song by the band so far, ‘Country Music’. Another great opening riff leads to another surprisingly heavy guitar riff through the verses. The vocals fit perfectly between the guitar parts, and the harmonies only make it sound even better. It all builds to the gag of the song, the opening line of the song satirically splitting up the first word of the song title and honestly catching me off guard the first time I heard it, as well as leaving me in hysterics of course. The chorus as a whole isn’t nearly as catchy as the previous song, but the riffs and comedy are a little better in my opinion. We get a dropdown after the second chorus, a great, VERY metal guitar riff filling the gap between the vocals and the cymbal heavy drums as the song builds up more and more before it explodes into a huge final chorus. More silly humour that I cannot help but enjoy and backed up by awesome music, I cannot complain at all. Playlisted!

The band’s biggest song to date, ‘Hoedown Showdown’ (nope, I’m not making this up!) is up next. A slightly steadier country-rock riff opens this one up, heading into a pretty stripped-back verse with heavy blues vibes. If it wasn’t for the lyrics, I’d say it’d be the perfect radio-rock song for them. The chorus is pretty open and massive, but the spread-out lyrics ruin it for me just a little bit – it slows down the song a little too much for me. The lyrics in general are a little worse than the previous two songs too, a little more on the nose like modern-day Steel Panther instead of subtler and funnier than old-school Panther. There isn’t much to the song – just two verses, two choruses and then a quick bridge and final chorus. I get that it was supposed to be their most accessible song, but it just felt a little basic to me.

‘Let’s Rodeo’ opens into the most enjoyable part of the album from a musical standpoint with a simple, fun guitar riff, a singular, slow bass drum and some catchy vocals. The backing and harmonies behind the vocals make them sound even better and add to the impact, and honestly add to their catchiness. It builds up perfectly with a drum roll into what I assume to be the chorus guitar riff after a vocal callout of the song title. Unfortunately, there is slightly more to the second verse – being a steady chugging guitar and drumbeat. It was still good, but it didn’t sound as good as the first verse. There is even less to this song in terms of structure, there just being three verses and three choruses, but the addition of the strings for the third chorus and a short solo from them instead of the pre sound great and add more country to just about any other song I have heard written by a British artist. I’m umming and erring about whether to put this song on the playlist or not. Why don’t you go over to it and check, see which way I ended up deciding…?

Next up is another song I know already and kinda love, ‘Shirt Potatoes’. It’s another song that, despite the ridiculous, hilarious premise written around a woman’s chest, is fantastic musically. The opening riff is the perfect mixture of country and sleaze, fitting the lyrics perfectly. The open verse of mainly just drums and vocals always works well too, and the vocals are so strong and powerful that they easily carry it through. The chorus isn’t the catchiest I’ve heard but the lyrics are silly enough to make it work and make more childish people happily want to sing along to it. The heavy few seconds in the middle of the second chorus is also worth bringing up, the call and response vocals with the dropping out guitar chords sounded awesome. It’s also taken me this long to realise just how much the singer sounds like Nathan James of Inglorious, but you can definitely hear it with the high notes. I also remember now why I like this song so much – it’s finally got a guitar solo in it and it’s a damn good one, definitely worth the wait. A final chorus and outro of course take this home and this song is another highlight of the album.

The next song has me interested as it features a guest who I am a big fan of at the minute, Christopher Bowes of Alestorm. It opens on a typically good, heavy riff for the band and this album at this point, and the verse isn’t too out of the ordinary for what I’ve heard so far either. The chorus is basic again but the backing vocals drive it forwards enough to make it catchy. Christopher comes in for the second verse, his distinctive vocals lending a lot to the track, in my opinion. The two bands mesh together pretty well too, especially on such a party-centric song. Unfortunately, there isn’t much more involvement from him outside of the odd line in the final choruses that you can hear him in. It’s a shame, as Alestorm is one of the best bands in rock at the minute for doing things a little different. Another good guitar solo but outside of that and the inclusion of Christopher, this wasn’t much we haven’t heard already.

The same sort of analysis could be given for the next few songs. ‘Hobby Horse’, ‘Ladies Man’, and ‘Cowboys and Indian Takeaway’ are all fairly similar in feeling and style to the previous songs on this album. It isn’t a bad thing at all, it just means I don’t have much to talk about. There is one track that is different though, the most-likely-to-offend-someone track winner of the album, ‘Cowperson’. Clearly being inspired by Bon Jovi’s ‘Dead Or Alive’, hilarious in of itself, it’s the first ballad and change of pace we’ve had at all on the album so far, which is very welcome. It’s a damn good ballad that wouldn’t seem out of place in the 80s if it wasn’t for the crazy, gender-confused, children’s-toy-related lyrics. 

‘Vanessa’ continues the trend of sleazy-country pretty steadily, but I did want to talk about just how damn good of a chorus it had. It’s the best on the album I’d say, featuring massively catchy and fun lyrically as well as some impressive high notes being hit vocally. Outside of that, it’s pretty standard, much like the following few tracks, ‘Outlaw’, ‘Family Tree’ and ‘Doc Holiday’. There are some genuinely amazing lyrics in here, and some more good riffs and solos, but 13 songs (14 if you count the last one) of pretty similar music, tempo and style do get a little much all at once.

The final song, as the name itself explains, is a Christmas one. It’s good, even if it sounds pretty close to all their other stuff. The chorus is enjoyable but it isn’t something I’d actually listen to much around the festive season.

Overall: This was a damn enjoyable album. It was pretty bloated; I think 15 songs was a little much and it could have been cut down to 11 pretty easily and therefore stand a little stronger, but every song was at least fun. I cannot wait to finally catch them live at some point soon and I think they have a bright future ahead of them.

Score: 7/10

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