Seattle-based musician Bob Wayne snarls and spits more than he sings. He's an artist singularly focused on dark underbellies and the barely-scraping-by barflies that inhabit them. If Driven By Demons is any indication, he doesn't see much of a point in such an existence but finds other walks of life equally meaningless.
The album's musical style offsets that dismal mindset with its frantic numbers. Assigning a genre is a haphazard endeavor. At times the sound is close to punkabilly with plenty of country twang and drawl. Other times, it could stand in for the Ennio Morricone score in a Sergio Leone Western hyped up on methamphetamine. But for the most part, the songs maintain a high energy with plenty of blazing banjo and shrieking fiddle.
The prevailing nih-ilism in the record can be tough to swallow. In Wayne's eyes, there's not much of a point to life, so you might as well crawl inside a booze bottle. However, the album ends on a weirdly positive note with an apocalyptic rumination. On "2012," Wayne says that the year may or may not be the end of the world, but just in case, you might as well try to bea good person. And, hey, I'll drink to that.
Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies play the Palace Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 9 PM with Legendary Shack Shakers. $10.