Formerly known as Mushroomhead singer J. Mann, Jason Popson has a new band, and it's not nearly as metal as that gun-toting hit squad, though it's just as colorful. The Alter Boys features members of Unified Culture, the Spudmonsters, Dog Fashion Disco, and MTV's Jackass -- Ryan Dunn sings, and Johnny Knoxville and Bam Margera join Saturday Night Live's David "Naked Trucker" Koechner in skits, rounding out an album of red-eyed soul that sounds like a mix of Mushroomhead, the Fun Lovin' Criminals, and Faith No More's cover of the Commodores' "Easy."
The Alter Boys play like kindred spirits traumatized by boyhood piano-and-trumpet lessons, now finally allowed to let loose with brass funk, hand-clap pop, and shake-you-by-the-collar rockers. The acid-lounge octet turns in a series of surprisingly sincere slow-dance numbers; "Where Have You Gone" and "Surrounded by Porcelain Flies" are punctuated with schmoove horns, not throat-damaging screams. The Exotic Sounds of the Alter Boys leaves you wondering what the hell is coming next -- and glad to stick around to find out.