I’ve heard Drive-By Truckers mentioned a few times before and have wondered about their sound, so when El Bicho passed this one off to me I thought it might be an alright recording. Not so much, I think as I write this, not that it’s a bad album or that they’re a bad band, it’s just that they don’t move me. They do have their highlights but they are too few and far between for me to fully enjoy this album.
Track one “Feb 14,” opens with a good beat and heavy guitar twang, sounds like it could lead to something; then we hear the lead vocalist and from there the song starts to lose me. The title has potential but this one falls short for me and is now another reason not to dig said date.
The third track “Easy On Yourself” is the first number that caught my attention. The guitar work is solid and the drums are rocking, the lyrics and vocals come together well here, and the vocalists on this track I like a whole lot better than the guy on “Feb 14.”
Tracks four and five are two more highlights from the eleven on this disk, so along with track nine that brings my grand total to four. Kind of says something right there. “Aftermath USA” is an Eagles-inspired number complete with harmony background vocals. The lyrics and vocals are okay but just don’t get me going, even with lines about “crystal meth in the bathtub.”
“Goodbye” is a slow, country number with a steady beat to keep it moving and the guitar soars once again here. The use of curses such as “God damn it/I swear to you I tried” again just don’t work for me and sound forced. Oh and trust me I’m not against cussing and cursing in songs of any sort. But for most bands I dig, these phrases and words are used to highlight a point and usually come across well, yet here I just don’t dig the vocal delivery of it.
Jumping to track nine and what to me is the best track on this album “Space City,” a solid country tune with good, strong lyrics, acoustic guitars and a solid drum thump. “It is a slow tune that’s hits hard, carried well by its vocals and simple yet heartfelt lyrics, which is why this number is the band's shining moment for me. Maybe it’s because I’m reminded of Cowboy Nation on this track, with its honest, straightforward country, back-to-basics sound.