Three white men dressed in blue jeans and black T-shirts with withe baseball caps and little white tabs around them like they are cut-out paper dolls standing outside on the grass under a big black sign that says Hellroys is Real

Everyone who read the adventures of Peter Pan knows the directions to Neverland – first star on the left and straight on ‘til morning. But after a heavy night of bourbon swilling directions can get a little muddled up, especially when your truck starts making that weird whining noise as you’re pushing it off your neighbor’s lawn. All the stars start running into each other, and the next thing you know you’ve cruised right past Neverland and arrived in a strange region where the towns have names like Abilene and Dogpiss.

This is ‘Murica, a place where heavily armed work comp fraudsters order 50 Big Macs while seated on a Wal-Mart scooter parked in the back of their cousin’s girlfriend’s truck while flags cover the sky and Lee Greenwood rolls around naked in the street screeching for beer money. A bacon-soaked world where there are always plenty of bottle rockets at the trailer park, and where misguided promiscuity is never hindered by literacy.

When it comes to ‘Murica, the Hellroys have the privilege of being both house band and tour guide. Their debut album, “Dumb Country Noise,” introduced us to such delights as “Gonna Cut Off My Hand” and “Outlaws Don’t Read.” Their latest album, “Hellroys is Real,” takes its name from that sign on I-71 that threatens me with eternal damnation every time I go to Cincinnati. Which is appropriate,

The first song, “My Truck is Loud,” is some sort of masterpiece. A tribute to every one of those trash jackholes who lives with their mother while driving an $80,000 truck and blowing smoke at Priuses. “I’m rolling coal, I’m rolling proud.” Because “it’s four in the morning and I’m parked at my ex wife’s house.” Yeah you are motherfucker, yeah you are.

The Hellroys have learned the lesson of Spinal Tap – that the better the band sounds the funnier the joke is. The arrangement is exquisite, right down to the soaring background vocals (“Truck Nuuuuuuuuuuuutttttts!!!!”). Turn it up loud to catch some of the best lyrics.

And from there it’s just a descent into the ugly heart of redneck depravity. “My Kids are Getting Too Big (To Hit)” explores that unintended consequence of excessive corporal punishment when you son blocks your hand and punches you “hard in the dick. It made me pee a little bit.” 

“Snake Handling Man,” is a technical guide to handling dangerous snakes and is absolutely not about masturbation (“it’s in the scriptures baby read it verse by verse”). We know this is true because the boys come clean later on in “You Gave Me a Semi” (“Drive it on home, to your door, it’s a dick metaphor”). If you’ve ever wondered why alien abduction stories always involve a rectal probe, “Anal Alien” has your answers. Turns out it’s just Zeke from your bowling team.    

Wait, did I just review a song called Anal Alien? 

“Don’t Think I Won’t” is about that awkward moment that you realize that the end of your relationship is going to cause a bit of dirty laundry to air. That toilet you clogged at Home Depot when you were high from licking toads for example, or maybe that time you caused that herpes epidemic. We’ve all been there. 

“Weremilf” is about…a Weremilf. Watch your ass on Halloween. For some reason they cover Steve Earle’s “The Devil’s Right Hand.” Because why not? 

The funniest humor contains a bit of truth, and this is apparent in the absolutely stunning “I Don’t Do No Drugs.” A modern pastiche of both Geoff Mack’s “I’ve Been Everywhere” (you probably know Johnny Cash’s version) and Dion and the Belmonts “The Wanderer,” the song manically serenades a nation swimming in prescription drugs that moralizes about marijuana. We don’t smoke no bud man, we just take “Percocet, Ambien, Prednisone, Darvocet, Nexium, Claritin, Risperdal, Proprafol, Valium, Fosamax, Viagra, Topamax, Methadone, Aciphex, Ritalin, Celebrex, Lithium, Tamiflu, Benadryl, Nasonex, Clarinex, Imitrex, Avonnex, and Aciphex” etc. etc.

The Hellroys are absolute monsters and I’m probably going to hell just for listening to this album, let alone enjoying it. It seems like a big ask to suggest you endanger your soul just to listen to some music, but if you’re borderline anyway it’s totally worth it. And it’s funnier than that one time your neighbor was chased by a drunk pig and fell head first into his septic tank.

*I should note that this review of “Hellroys is Real” is being written nearly a year after the album’s release, which while pathetic is better than the three-year lag time I gave “Dumb Country Noise.” I would say that is because the Hellroys age like fine wine, but I’m not sure that’s accurate – it’s more like the pleasant surprise of finding a forgotten bottle of Wild Turkey in your glove compartment.

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