• Th'Inbred
  • A Family Affair (Toxic Shock) 1986 
  • Kissin' Cousins (Toxic Shock) 1988 
  • Family Pack [tape] (Toxic Shock) c. 1988 
  • Billy Atwell
  • Ferret in a China Shop ... (Bobok) 1988 

Despite an image that screams it-came-from-the-swamp psychobilly, the West Virginia quartet’s two albums consist of topical songs and instrumentals played in a disciplined form of sharply thrashed jazz-rock which can turn tight melodic corners on a screeching dime and make abrupt rhythm shifts amid a hailstorm of free-fire guitar power. Very much in a Minutemen/Blind Idiot God vein, A Family Affair and Kissin’ Cousins (matched on the Family Pack cassette) find the sharpwitted anarchists angrily attacking Christianity, Satanism, hardcore ideologues, apathy, American policy, etc. and backing it up with crisply organized noise.

After Th’Inbred folded at the end of ’87 (prior to Kissin’ Cousins‘ release), drummer Billy Atwell worked on his solo album between stints with the Rhythm Pigs, who disbanded the following year. On Ferret in a China Shop, an impressively skilled and surprising refutation of punk, Atwell ably demonstrates what he can do with guitar, bass, keyboards and ambience instead of speed and volume. But the meandering instrumental sketches are pointless, and the fusion-rock songs bear a disturbing resemblance to junior-league Police. Atwell has the tools to go it alone, but this album doesn’t explain why he should.

[Ira Robbins]