Big Ass Truck: Who Let You In Here?

Big Ass Truck
Who Let You in Here?

With the increasing genre-fication of mainstream radio into ever-smaller stylistic neighborhoods, is there room for a band like Big Ass Truck? The Memphis, Tennessee combo’s musical cargo includes blues, psychedelic funk, redneck rock, rap and hip-hop, sometimes in the space of a single song. This ‘new’ CD is a repackaged version of their self-released 1998 album of the same name that had already sold over 6,000 copies.

The band’s third and most fully realized effort, Who Let You In Here?, takes the kitchen sink philosophy and adds the plumbing in for good measure. This wide-ranging flow occasionally clogs up from its own good intentions, however, as on the meandering “Hands of a Working Man,” and the title track, an annoying mess that sounds like Jimi Hendrix and Trent Reznor on cheap hooch.

Big Ass Truck’s biggest-ass problem is their overachieving nature, it seems. When just one or two twists in a song would do, they throw in a few extra. When they get a groove going that’s cool, it is often ruined by treated vocals and other knob-twiddling, leaving the listener at best scratching their head in bemusement, at worst lunging across the room to switch the CD player to something less obtusely grating.

When the band hits on all cylinders, as on the blaxploitation flick send up, “The Neco,” or their oddly effective version of the Drive-By Truckers’ “Nine Bullets,” it can be a helluva ride. Even when their timing is a bit off and the scales tip in favor of indulgent, obscure noodling nonsense, the band still manages to sound like a Delta-charged version of Medeski, Martin, Wood, and The Beastie Boys.