The Waco Brothers are the Grateful Dead of cowpunk, an incredibly spectacular live outfit who've rarely been able to translate their fervent, propulsive energy into a solid studio set. They've always been the left-wing voice of reason, downing pints at the local pub and puking up political manifestos for the working man like some old-timer who just won't shut the fuck up no matter how many times you politely ask. And Freedom is no exception, with typically humorous rants about Christian extremists, reality TV, George Dubya and the state of the States. Yet it's as if the Brothers went for a night of virgin Marys instead of their normal crutch and came out rejuvenated, clear-headed and determined to clear up any questions about their ability to serve up a full-on rock record with nary a weak track, and just enough pedal steel to show they haven't lost touch with their roots. A must.