For 27 years, capital city goofballs The Austin Lounge Lizards have delivered a unique sonic soup of humorous songs, bitingly satirical lyrics and fine pickin'. You pretty much know in advance what you're getting from the multi-vocalist ensemble -- except, of course, for the German hip-hop on their latest disc, The Drugs I Need. Fans can expect a giant dose of The Drugs I Need during the show. Drugs is their ninth record, and it finds the reptiles a bit more topical, with numbers slamming the insurance industry (the sea shanty "Go Ahead and Die"), our addiction to oil and global warming ("Toast the Earth with ExxonMobil"), consumer debt ("Xmas Time for Visa") and all those pharmaceutical ads with disclaimers on TV in the title track (which warns of "constipation/male lactation/rust-colored urination"). Many were actually commissioned by various groups and lobbies, and have been set to animation. The disc's two best tracks are a hilarious swipe at the uniformity of terrestrial radio formatting ("The Tower") and the story of the hapless dude who lives next door to Satan -- his address is 667 -- in "The Neighbor of the Beast." Here, the dark lord comes off more as the ever-partying acquaintance from high school who won't grow up instead of the devourer of souls. And yes, his favorite bands are Judas Priest and Motorhead. Surprisingly, a number of songs are sub-par. "One True God" is a big swing-and-miss attempt to assail religion, and numbers like "Buenos Dias, Budweiser," "Arnold" and "Banjo Players in Heaven" fall flat and hard. But while it doesn't reach the heights of hilarity achieved by Highway Café of the Damned and Never an Adult Moment, The Drugs I Need is a still a worthy addition to the canon of comedy.
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