Texas bottle rocket Scott Hiram Biram is back with another offering of lo-fi folk blues and semi-acoustically-driven country punk with a raucous electric guitar for a dorsal fin. The Bad Testament finds Biram accentuating his normalcies—lovesick blues like "Red Wine" and the thumping trash of personal favorites "TrainWrecker" and the minute-and-a-half of fury that's "Hit the River". That's not even mentioning the contemptuous minimalist gospel of "True Religion", a scathing unforgettable country jangle called "Swift Driftin’", and the perfect blues of "Feel So Wrong".
Scott H. Biram knows what he's about. He's a guy who knows a lot about sin and a little about salvation, as he tries to make sense of a world where the temptations of alcohol, reefer, and lust cross his path more often than the blessings of the Lord. Biram writes songs about this stuff, sometimes quiet, sometimes loud, and just about always pulled from his guts and played with genuine emotional intensity regardless of his stage volume.
There's an antediluvian joke about the clichéd subjects of popular roots music, in which a country record is played in reverse: the singer gets his job back, he fixes his car, his wife comes back, etc.
If you played veteran Austin songwriter Scott H. Biram's new album The Bad Testament backwards, you'd get much the same; each song adheres so strongly to an outlaw country stereotype that it lifts itself out of the realm of cliché and into that of meta-craft.
BY LEE ZIMMERMAN By now it ought to be apparent that Scott H. Biram is one irascible individual. Ornery and unruly to a fault, his albums betray the fact that he fancies himself the heir apparent to any number of edgy outlaws — Waylon Jennings, David Allan Coe, Bobby Bare and Merle Haggard included — even as he goes several steps beyond in affirming his tenacity.