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The Hangmen Loteria

By David Tarlow, Contributor
Monday, November 15, 2004 @ 11:31 PM


(Acetate)

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Hollywood sleaze-rock veterans the Hangmen return with a 13-song ode to dirty livin’, decadence and despair in the form of Loteria.

The title track refers to “luck” in Spanish, and luck ain’t something lead singer/guitarist/songwriter Brian Small has had too much of, if you go by the lyrics. From the revenge fantasy of “Blood Red,” to the roadworn and weary slop and hop of “Sleepin’ on the Floor,” to the rip and snarl of “Wild Beast,” this vagabond tells it like it is about life, love and the pursuit of drugs.

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But, amazingly, Small learned something along the way and somewhow, someway, turned his life around. Now, stronger than ever, he proves he has the songwriting chops and lyrical prowess to match his penchant for hard living and doomsday decadence. Be it the blues swagger of “Can’t Stop That Train,” or the co-dependant strut of ”She’s a Drug,” The Hangmen lay their souls on the floor and dance the dance, that’s for sure. The tunes are tight and to the point, and the message is clear: life is pit of snakes, but there is a way out. Keep your head up.

Musically, the Hangmen fall in the cracks somewhere between Social Distortion, Gun Club, Tom Petty and Johnny Thunders. Junkie romance for your last dying breath, but with a nod, a wink and a smile. “Never Go Home” just plain rocks, but “I Just Wanna Feel Good” gives you a better idea of why these guys were on Kurt Cobain’s playlist.

By the time they strike up a scorchin’ cover of the Stones “Citadel,” we can all pack up and go home. The work here has been done. All the rock has been mined here. There’s nothing left.

* * * * ½


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