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- English Oceans by Drive-By Truckers
7/10 Clinton Staff review, 04 March 2014
Readers of Uncut magazine will notice that everytime Drive By Truckers release a new album it regularly gets 9 or 10 out of 10, yet a cursory listen to their music fails to explain how their pub rock sound enjoys such platitudes.
True to form opener ‘Shit Shots Count’ is an awful brass-led bar band dirge, yet once I started delving deeper into this record I found a much more varied palette than I expected and several moments that to really enjoy. For a start ‘When He’s Gone’ has the churning southern-rock sound of ‘On the Beach’ era Neil Young, ‘Pauline Hawkins’ is pure Tom Petty bright melodic guitar pop but its ‘Made Up English Oceans’ that makes my ears prick up with its wordy delivery and repetitive melodic strums, ‘The Part Of Him’ is like a traditional folky number as re-imagined by John Cougar Mellencamp and ‘Hanging On is an eerie back porch ballad.
There seems to be various voices at work here which keeps things interesting as despite the general bar room/americana sound they don’t always sound like the same band. Despite some honky tonk jamming and sub Springsteen earnestness, there will be plenty to enjoy for fans of the better end of The Hold Steady/Richmond Fontaine/Flying Buritto Brothers/The Band brand of alt country.
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