Mike Damron isn’t lying when he says, “I’ve never been too articulate,” but that’s his charm, along with his studied rasp and drawl and his Portland band’s Southern grit. He isn’t selling a complex worldview or even sincerity, although the song about his grandmother’s death seems earnest. There aren’t many shades of gray on Menace, and the people populating, say, his anti-war “Dust and Sun” (where the American soldier gets a last name but the Iraqi doesn’t) are symbols, not fleshed-out individuals. I Can Like Any Sonofabitch in the House just want to deliver a fierce blast of misery. After starting out celebrating the end of a relationship, they proceed through loneliness, desperation, and death. By album’s end, it feels like you’ve been reliving election night with a bottle of Jimmy Dean and a friend yelling “fuck you” at the TV. That phrase features prominently in “Westboro Baptist Church,” the best track because it sounds like the band is having fun venting its anger at Fred Phelps and his ilk.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 14, 2004