Unlikely as it may have seemed amid the anguished guitar rock of recent years, there’s still some fun to be found out there in indieworld. Like the spirited eight-piece British band Misty’s Big Adventure, Dr. Horsemachine and the Moneynotes really enjoy mixing it up musically. Where the former have a fondness for whimsical, ska-inflected psychedelia, the sextet from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and friends take crooning Dixieland-jazz vocals and stir in some Appalachian-roots-inspired country-punk abandon to strangely intoxicating effect. Recorded by label boss Bill Orner in various venues around their hometown, including local bar The Bog where the band first came together at an open-mic night, the six tracks which go to make up their Prairie Queen debut This Year We Hunt sound on occasion like either music hall sing-alongs or lost field recordings from a lunatic asylum. Highlights are provided by the quick-fire country-rap opener “A Pirate’s Confession” with some furious banjo pickin’ driving things forward, and the inspired madness of closer “Pertaining to the Existence of Martha and Her Husband Wallace”, which incorporates stereo kazoo, pots and pans, and what sounds like a choir of stoned Cossacks into its nine minutes plus of spoken-word mayhem.
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