The Yayhoos aren't typical yahoos. A quartet of roots-rock veterans -- guitarist Eric "Roscoe" Ambel (the Del-Lords and Steve Earle's Dukes), two former Georgia Satellites (frontman Dan Baird and bassist Keith Christopher), and longtime Baird collaborator Terry Anderson -- the four started playing together a decade ago. They still enjoy each other's company, and a loose, devil-may-care spirit pervades Put the Hammer Down. (The fun they're having could explain why this is just their second album.)
Baird's surly southern growl ignites tunes such as the AOR blues-rock stomper "Would It Kill You," the propulsive rumbler "Never Give an Inch," and the high-living blast of raunch "Gettin' Drunk." Everyone gets their moment at the mic -- Anderson shines on the punchy pop-soul number "All Dressed Up," and Ambel's twangy pop gem "Hurtin' Thing" would do Marshall Crenshaw proud, while Christopher's lovely "Over the Top" closes the raucous disc on a quiet note. The disc's general good-timin' attitude is best exemplified on "Everything/Anything," a goofy Carolina-style beach-party romp, complete with humorous shout-outs and an irresistible beat.