It's tough writing an overtly political record in 2014. You're simultaneously preaching to the converted and alienating half of your audience — or you would be, if they were listening. But when they see an album cover with the old folded-$20-bill-looking-like-the-twin-towers-exploding trick, and a title like "Inside Job," they don't even bother.
So that leaves you preaching to the aforementioned converted. But when the first vocal on your album refers to "the stupid, stupid people, walkin' round like stupid sheeple," you might lose half of those again.
Which is a shame, actually. The level of musicianship on Jr. Bobs' Recording Co.'s (nee Bob Hecker of the Orbitsuns and longtime Detroit sideman) debut record is pretty solid, as is the songwriting. Nothing groundbreaking — blues shuffles sit alongside boogie swing and a little bit of weirdness — but the band (including fellow Orbitsun Vinnie Dombrowski and punk royalty spawn Jackson Smith, among others) handle all with aplomb. It's the lyrics that are the buzzkill here.
But that would be OK if not for the fact that, while deeply tinged with conspiracy-theory aphorisms, there's no new information here. Witness "Nursery Song": "We're slaves to a very few, and they worship Lucifer." If you've ever heard anybody on an Illuminati rant (or if you've encountered those Libertarian dudes at a Hash Bash), you've heard most of these revelations before.
There are exceptions, though. "Beautiful" could be a mid-period Black Crowes ballad, and deals with not an object of affection but the idea that life could indeed be beautiful if we learned to unplug and engage with our lives rather than our devices.
The last sound you hear on the record is that of a flushing toilet. The American Dream going bye-bye? Or maybe just Bob, ahem, getting it all out of his system. "We hold these truths to be self-evident ..."