Bloodhound Gang - Hard-Off (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Bloodhound Gang

Hard-Off (2015)

Jimmy Franks Recording Company

Believe it or not, Hard-Off is the Bloodhound Gang’s first full-length since 2005’s Hefty Fine. The Bloodhound Gang has never been a band that sticks to just one genre. Through out their 20-plus-year career they have written songs mixed with sharp and witty lyrics that touch upon genres like rock, rap rock, hip-hop, techno and pop. And while the lyrics are definitely on par with their past releases, the Bloodhound Gang seem to have mellowed quite a bit in sound with this new release.

Of the 11 tracks on this record a solid majority of them you could classify as techno/house songs like their 2005 hit “Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss,” which is disappointing right off the bat. This immediately shows that the band seems to be heading mostly in that direction instead of staying fairly genre diverse. However not all is lost with songs like “Dimes,” “Chew Toy” and “Clean Up On Aisle Sexy” because Jimmy Pop can still write some pretty funny lines that can probably win over those of us who much prefer the band’s more rock-oriented tunes. “Diary Of A Stranger” is another one of these techno songs on this album that so synth-based (and probably software-based, too) that the musicianship just comes off as cold, impersonal and aimed more as something to dance to rather than to listen to and enjoy. This is definitely a song where Bloodhound Gang’s “signature” lyrics come in to redeem it with lines like “Barfing into a toilet full of a stranger’s diarrhea” and “Diarrhea/Diarrhea/Some people think it’s gross, but it’s really good on toast.” Disgusting? Yes. Immature? Debatable. Funny? I don’t see why not.

About half way through the album is where it begins to get good because this is where the few more rock songs are. You can hear a some new wave influence in them and there’s a lot of palm muting in songs like “Socially Awkward Penguin” and “Uncool As Me” (featuring none other than *NSYNC’s Joey Fatone). They are much more reserved compared to classics like “Kiss Me Where It Smells Funny” and “The Ballad of Chasey Lain.” But where you can hear the band’s earlier sound is in the song is “My Dad Says That’s For Pussies,” which is arguably the centerpiece of the whole album. This track, like the others, has a lot of palm muting coming from the guitar, but also has a very catchy main hook that compliments the Jimmy Pop’s vocal melodies pretty well. It’s the most hard-hitting song on the album. Of course it also has some pretty hilarious and lyrics like “Gargling after a blowjob is how they make light beer.” During the bridge Jimmy Pop also shouts, “John Wayne never would have used a surge protector!” -- a totally random non-sequitur, but still amusing.

As a long time Bloodhound Gang fan (admittedly, I was one even before I was into punk rock), there really should be more “Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo” and “I Hope You Die” type songs and less “Screwing You On The Beach At Night” and “Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss” type songs. That being said, could these new songs be “growers?” Well, the words are definitely funny and cleverly written, but it’s doubtful. They don’t stand out like the excellent electro/pop song “The Bad Touch.” Granted that track is dated, but it’s still a great tune and at least there’s some instrumentation done by humans on it. Also, the fact that there are only a couple of solid non-electro tracks on this album is somewhat disheartening. It’s certainly tough to get passed that.