Big Ass Truck -- If by bong hit number 50 nobody has thought of an appropriate band name, any sphincter allusion, it seems, will do. Hence Butt Plug, Ass Ponys, Butthole Surfers, etc.
While Big Ass Truck is certainly nowhere near as graphic as the aforementioned, the moniker could cement the band in the toilet bowl of novelty bands. But believe it or not, Big Ass Truck, with its fusion of rock, Memphis-style R&B and sampling, possesses the kind of sober maturity that comes from eight years of concentrated touring. Any quintet that includes a guitarist/vocalist, bassist, DJ, percussionist and keyboard player has to be pretty unified to last that long.
In fact, each band member seems to provide his individual contribution with the rigidity and vanity of a grand dame. The result, a clunky junk-shop mixture of sounds and styles, is showcased at its best and worst on the band's fourth and latest album, Who Let You in Here?
Tracks like "30 K Gs," which includes a shameless but subtle Wu Tang Clan sample, and "Portuguese Man o' War" shine with freakish hybrid beauty as they escalate to a cacophony of sampled moans and voice-overs, choruses, quick skalike bass lines, some sort of pan pipe, metal-style guitar and vehement scratching. But on other tracks, like "March of the Dirty Razors" and "Hand of a Working Man," a similar disharmonious assembly of effects and instruments actually becomes as irritating as grade school choir rehearsal.
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For all its talent and experience, Big Ass Truck could stand to chill out, lose a few of the effects and stick to a consistently balanced ratio of noises to chords to drive the songs. Such must be the plight of the ass band: regularity. Big Ass Truck performs Thursday, June 15, at Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak. For more information, call (713)862-7580.