Friday, January 1, 2010

Drive-by Truckers Brighter Than Creation's Dark 2008

I'd been aware of the Truckers for a while, and they have a bunch of records, going back more than ten years. I finally heard their work on Bettye LaVette's Scene Of The Crime 2007, and that was a killer record, although it was essentially a soul album, and that's not the Truckers' usual path. I'm not sure how I'd describe the Truckers' sound, they are country, punk, rock, southern, gothic. They write great songs, and with three songwriters, the style varies enough that things stay interesting.

And they can be very Heavy. Lyrically, they are strong writers with intense messages. Two Daughters And A Beautiful Wife opens the record on a sensitive note that reminds of early BoDeans. The Righteous Path is a huge song with a great story to tell. There's a stretch of five songs starting with Lisa's Birthday and ending with Checkout Time In Vegas that deals with the fallout at home and abroad from our current wars. It's a heavy trip. But they do it all with talent, insight and unflinching honesty. And they rock those three-guitar jams like crazy.

The record is only slightly brighter than the darkest dark. The glimpses of hope in Perfect Timing, Bob, and The Monument Valley are more than overshadowed by the intensity of Daddy Needs A Drink, That Man I Shot, The Home Front and You And Your Crystal Meth.

So some of the record is just plain difficult to listen to. But when they're rockin', they're hot. 3 Dimes Down, The Righteous Path, Home Field Advantage, and A Ghost To Most are all killer, Neil Young sounding guitar rockers.

At nineteen songs, there could have been some editing. But everything here supports the overarching themes of the record, and they are an exceptionally talented band. Darker and more intense than most of my recommendations. If you're prepared for a wild ride, this band is ready to take you there.

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