Viceroy Kings - Drunken Alibis (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Viceroy Kings

Drunken Alibis (2020)

Self Released

On their latest release, Drunken Alibis, Dayton Ohio cow-punk band Viceroy Kings return with more of their country tinged punk sound. Musically, they fall somewhere between Social Distortion and Two Cow Garage, which can be a hard sound to pull off for some bands. Too often bands trying to play cow/punk end up sounding like Garth Brooks with a distortion pedal or a feeble attempt at capturing whatever it is Hank Williams III has been doing for over a decade now. That is to say, Viceroy Kings sound familiar, but they also sound like themselves.Viceroy Kings avoid this by playing punk that is informed by, mostly, the vibe of outlaw country, rather than trying to sound country themselves. 

Both originals on this EP are high energy numbers, featuring excellent guitar leads from Pat Jones and with a rhythm section that, brings a punk feel to these songs. Both “One Less Thing” and “Nashville Eyes” benefit from the addition of piano, it opens up another dimension to the songs that helps them stick in your ear.

Brian Hogarth’s vocals are not just high energy but have the kind of rough abrasiveness that brings to mind early Hot Water Music, Lars Frederickson, or Tom Waits after he’s had a couple lozenges. The biggest advantage this band has is they don’t try and sing about experiences they haven’t had. A lot of cow-punk bands try and write inauthentic lyrics about authentic country experiences, that is avoided here. As the band tackles traditional song topics for a rock band.

The final song on the EP, is a cover of “Worker’s Song” originally by Ed Pickford, but likely made popular to punk audiences by Dropkick Murphys. Musically, the song has the rough around the edges working class punk feel of the Dropkick Murphys’ cover. This works well for these guys, as they come from a similar spot musically and in their own lives. The inclusion of the song on this release, which came out on May 1st 2020, was meant to coincide with May Day or International Workers’ Day.

All in all, this is a solid three song EP. It definitely gives you a taste of what the band does, and leaves you wanting just a little more. Which, ultimately, is the entire reason a band should put out an EP.