Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lucero - Women & Work (2012)

When Lucero lurched into public consciousness at the beginning of the previous decade, they were the sonic equivalent of a savagely angry barroom drunk itching for a knife fight. The band played punked-up Americana, a definite southern twang buried under layers of electric fuzz and distortion with  murky influences touching on the Replacements, Uncle Tupelo, Crazy Horse, and, buried deep, Springsteen, all while leader Ben Nichols sang in a rasp so thick he must've gargled with gasoline and rusty carpet tacks. Since joining the major labels with their previous album (2009's 1372 Overton Park), the band hasn't exactly reinvented their wheel, but they've certainly buffed up those whitewalls with some Armor All. Women & Work continues that trend towards respectability. The songs feature a full horn section, keyboards, as well as the occasional gospel choir, and Nichols' ear for a hook continues to get more pronounced. Old fans may quibble about the clean, big budget production gloss, but to my ears it still sounds like good ol' Lucero - in other words, the angry drunk with a knife in his pocket is still sitting at the end of the bar, just now he's wearing a brand new pair of beatin' jeans.

Lucero website

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