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Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Drive by Truckers - Back to basics with an album of "maelstrom" rock, 13 Mar. 2010
This review is from: The Big To-Do (Audio CD)
4.5 stars

They say the whole is the sum of the parts but it didn't quite feel like that on the last Drive by Truckers album "Brighter Than Creations Dark". Don't get me wrong it was a great record indeed it is genetically impossible for this band to record a bad album. But the departure of Jason Isbell clearly led to a band "rethink" and some passing doubt. It was to her eternal credit that Shonna Tucker stepped up to the plate not least of all with wonderful songs like "The Purgatory Line" and "I'm sorry Houston". The album also contained contributions from nearly all other band members including Patterson Hood's blistering "The Man I shot" a song which contains so much "attack" it could destroy armies.

The latter song could be a template for the new album since when it comes to the "Big to do", it is the out and out rock dimension of the DBTs that is not such much at the fore but actually pressing its nose two inches from your face and blowing smoke up your nostrils! This feels more like a bespoke vehicle for Hood and Mike Cooley, and it is an angry, brutal and dark assault that still manages to combine the fine ear for melody that is the DBTs trademark. "The Flying Wallendas" for example is a poignant, aching ballad with a pronounced slide guitar in the background (albeit concluding with a blistering guitar solo). The same goes for Cooley's gentle "Eyes like glue". But you should note that both of these songs come at the end of the album and by that time you will need some respite!

Prior to this with the have probably the greatest ode to dead end employment in "This f-ing Job" with a riff so loud that it should concern the local environmental health department. Other instant classics include the opener "Daddy learned to fly" the story of a departed father and a child's confused bemusement. Domestic disharmony is regular staple of DBT themes and the song is effortless. It is followed by Hood's woeful tale of a an extended "lost weekend" the "Fourth Night of my Drinking" a much darker and powerful variant in comparison to the Southern Rock Opera's earlier "Dead drunk and naked". Cooley then returns to vocal duties with probably the joint best song on the album "Birthday boy", it will undoubtedly form part of the encore at their storming live gigs.

Look I could go on but you know the score by now, one hard rocking anthem after the other follows the best being "Drag the lake Charlie" "Get downtown" and the storming "After the scene dies". Indeed it is why I cant quite give the album 5 stars since with the departure of Isbell some of the light and shade has gone from the band. Nevertheless a small complaint and immediately addressed by "Santa Fe" which is undoubtedly one of the best songs they have ever recorded, a stirring alt country ballad with a huge vocal from Hood and brilliant lyrics.

I have reflected elsewhere on Amazon that the DBTs are one of the best bands on this planet. What we here is an enormous album packed with boogie heavy Southern rock by a band that is such a potent force that many of their peers can only gasp in wonder and worry will they ever be this good.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Mar 2010 16:51:30 GMT
I feel i must point out that on your review of "The Big To Do" by Drive By Truckers,posted on 13/3/10,you stated that the last cd by Drive By Truckers was A Blessing And A Curse,if you would like to check i think you will find the last cd released was "The Fine Print" and before that was "Brighter Than Creations Dark" Hope this was helpful to you.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Mar 2010 20:52:14 GMT
Red on Black says:
Mr Cairns
Sincere thanks for pointing out this silly mistake. It is a clear sign of the impending senility that appears to be dominating a large part of my existence! I have not cited the "Fine Print" since it is a compilation and "Brighter than Creations Dark" as you state was their last major release. Hope your enjoying the new record?

Regards R o B

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Mar 2010 13:48:06 GMT
Yes i am enjoying the new cd,my only question regarding the cd,which i must point out is not a criticism is why if you download it from a certain well known company do you get the DBTs version of the KISS song "Strutter" ? What i wonder was the reason for the band recording and releasing this particular song ?

In reply to an earlier post on 29 May 2010 20:34:40 BDT
Dreamteam says:
One day, I shall see this band live. Everyone has to have a little dream. This isnt my favourite cd of theirs, but whats not to like really.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jun 2010 21:00:11 BDT
Gizmophobic says:
See you at Shepherd's Bush O2-Nov 14-------they are top of my must see list
and nothing disappoints me omn the latest one either.
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