Much has been made about the Muscle Shoals feel to this new offering from the Truckers, and it does indeed have a pleasant loping country soul shuffle at its heart. Recorded at the same time as last year's 'Big To-Do', this is a companion piece that is markedly different in tone, although with a coherence to its sound that `Big To-Do' arguably lacked, and all the better for it. Undoubtedly a grower that repays repeated listening, it doesn't really get going until 4 or 5 tracks in, and the best songs (Used To Be A Cop, Pulaski, Mercy Buckets and The Thanksgiving Filter) are all at the end. It's an enjoyable enough listen, undemanding and only lightly flirting with new ground, but it lacks some of the solid songwriting that has distinguished earlier efforts, in particular the trilogy of albums culminating in `The Dirty South'. Jason Isbell's departure may be old news, but its impact on the punch and reach of this band is still sorely felt, and Isbell himself has yet to produce anything of the calibre he attained in the DBTs.
The Truckers remain one of the last few decent rock 'n' roll bands left, but have a frustrating tendency to leave an aftertaste of under-achievement. 'Go-Go Boots' is another sterling effort that doesn't quite live up to its full potential, leaving the sense that this band has much more to say, with a further masterpiece of `Dirty South' stature still to come. Let's hope so; they are indeed a rare and precious artefact.