Irreverence and country music don’t often mix, and it’s rarer still for them to mix successfully. Sincerity and emotional directness are inherent to the genre, and attempts to nullify those qualities with ironic distance mostly come off as jokey or even condescending to the form. Jonny Corndawg arouses immediate suspicion due to his smirky moniker and his background as a Brooklyn scenester, but Down On The Bikini Line does have some legitimate charms. Song titles like “When A Ford Man Turns To Chevy” and “Undercover Dad” might initially grate, but the songs themselves are faithful and tuneful genre exercises. (“Undercover Dad,” in particular, is a surprisingly heart-tugging yarn about a father guiltily reading his daughter’s diary.)
At his best, like the funny filth of the sex song “Shaved Like A Razor,” Corndawg comes within spitting distance of the gonzo brilliance of Kinky Friedman and Ween’s 12 Golden Country Greats, creating country novelty music that’s goofy and genuine in equal measure. But just as often he misses the mark, like on the childish “Life Of A Bear,” which sounds like a lame Adam Green track with a little bit of steel guitar added for extra guffaws. In spite of his less inspired moments, Corndawg seems to have his heart in the right place, and even if Down On The Bikini Line isn’t as funny as he might think it is, it’s still pretty fun.