After three years and an album that I don’t even remember listening to, American alternative group Cracker makes a glorious return to the music scene with Sunrise In The Land Of Milk And Honey; and it is extremely hard for me to fathom that the band has been around for 19 years now. Whilst in junior high, I was a somewhat devout of the group Camper Van Beethoven — and when the group called it quits in 1990 (they have since regrouped as so many other bands do after about two decades), frontman David Lowery went off to form Cracker with guitarist Johnny Hickman and bassist Davey Faragher while several other Campers joined the Monks Of Doom. Personally, I always preferred Monks Of Doom over Cracker — but, as the years went by and my taste in music “matured” (if you will), I have found myself leaning more towards the eclectic sounds of Cracker (c’est la vie, right?).
If there is any one thing the faithful Camper/Cracker listener will notice immediately with Sunrise In The Land Of Milk And Honey, the new album from 429 Records, it’s that David Lowery’s IQ and slightly-bent sense of humor have not diminished — in fact, you could say that he’s become even more cynical of the world around him, such as in “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out With Me” (“I‘m not paranoid there is no conspiracy / But I swear Big Brother‘s watching me / Turn on, tune in, drop out, give up with me”) or the tender redneck country ballad “Friends,” wherein Lowery croons “I‘ll show up drunk and raving, and then I‘ll pass out on the spot / ‘Cause that‘s the kind of friend you got.” Of course, the whole war thing still comes into play in the album’s first track, “Yalla Yalla (Let’s Go),” which gives us an impartial view of the conflict abroad and instead focuses on the troops’ point of view.
With its ferocious and often bitter lyrics, restless sounds, and Lowery’s unmistakable voice, Sunrise In The Land Of Milk And Honey will probably come off as a very pessimistic album to people with no sense of realism (the cheery-sounding title song itself is nothing but cheery) but the loyal fans of Lowery and Co. will love every minute of it. I certainly did.