Springfield, Mo.'s Amsterband changed its name to Ha Ha Tonka when the act signed with the "insurgent country" label Bloodshot Records. Ha Ha Tonka is also a state park in Missouri, which gives you an idea of what these rowdy lads are all about.
Like fellow Missourians The Bottle Rockets, Ha Ha Tonka writes from a small-town perspective about fundamentalism, nationalism, meth addiction, poverty and getting along with neighbors. The lyrics tend to be choppy and a little oblique. In fact, it might be kind of a drag if it weren't so much fun to listen to.
The first single, "St. Nick on the Fourth in a Fervor," is a roaring bit of social criticism with wall-to-wall guitars, setting the tone for the rest of the disc. Encased in the virtual grooves are echoes of Marah and The Replacements, but gilded with four-part harmonies.
Rural desperation rarely sounds this ragged and right.