Do you remember Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains? I have a lot of vivid memories of listening to them, their music was exactly what I needed, it was despondent and nihilistic and damn poetic. It was my jam for any time I had to go out in public for a good six months, and then Pat the Bunny went to rehab and I wrote it off, still despondent and nihilistic and accepting that at that was that and that music I connect to never lasts that long. Or so I thought.
Ramshackle Glory is Pat the Bunny’s new band, and their first album Live the Dream, is a perfect transition from Johnny Hobo and later Wingnut Dishwashers Union. It’s more melancholy than Johnny Hobo, a bit slower and lacking the drug fueled energy that the past bands had. That’s’ mostly because he seems to have kicked the habit. In a lot of ways it’s more mature. His lyrics still talk about drugs and drinking, but there’s almost a kind of hope in his words. Pat the Bunny sounds like he’s gotten over a hump, only to see that he’s still the same guy, just trying or something different. OK, that may be me projecting, but I think that’s why I really like this album. When I got into Johnny Hobo and the Wingnut Dishwashers Union I really connected to that music. What Pat the Bunny was singing made a lot of sense, or if not I could just relate quite a bit to his feelings. This album manages to do that again. I mean to say that it’s hitting that same level, just that I’m a few years old (and so is Pat the Bunny) and that level is slightly different. He’s not singing about passing out in ditches and missing all his friends who moved a way, he’s singing about wanting freedom from his addictions and missing friends that died. I guess the easy way to put it is you can hear the fact that he’s been through rehab in his lyrics, and that’s not a bad thing.
Tracks like Bitter Old Man and We’re All Compost in Training are pretty stand out tracks for me, but I’d say there isn’t a bad song on the album. If anything, More About Alcoholism is a little jarring to follow First Song in terms of the sound and speed of the music, but it works as a song in its own right and with the album as whole.
Live the Dream is definitely worth a listen, especially I you’re a fan of Pat the Bunny’s past work or a somewhat jaded dude who’s learning to cope with the world.