2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
DBTs turn it up to 11,
This review is from: The Big To-Do (Audio CD)
Drive-By Truckers stated intent on their 8th studio album was to return to thunderous guitars and unreconstructed bar room boogie. Thankfully, even as they channel 70s hard rock the subtlety and intelligence that are their trademarks haven't been sacrificed.
The opening salvo of Daddy Learned to Fly, The Fourth Night of My Drinking and Birthday Boy are surging, adrenaline pumping rockers, but John Neff's lyrical slide playing gives them a gradual, evolving melodicism. The riffs on After The Scene Dies and This ... Job could level houses and the band's Crazy Horse style jamming is electrifying. The band's playing as a group lends this album some of it's strongest aspect, particularly in the case of a song like You Got Another, where they take what could be a slight Shonna Tucker composition and elevate it to brilliance.
The Big to Do also offers further proof, if any were needed, that both Hood and Cooley have matured into some of our finest lyricists, taking the same subject matter that might have been played for tar black guffaws on their first couple of albums and elevating it to almost unbearable levels of pathos on songs like The Wig He Made Her Wear and the aforementioned Fourth Night of My Drinking.
Many people find the sheer quantity of a typical DBTs album to be a little much, but for me at their best they seem able to churn out classics like a rock n roll production line working overtime. Sprawling epics like Decoration Day and Brighter Than Creation's Dark don't contain a single song I don't enjoy. In fact, I thought BTCD represented a peak for the band, despite continual bleating about the absence of Jason Isbell, (a man who contributed a grand total of 8 songs to the band's albums before last year's odds and sods round up The Fine Print).
It seems a little odd then that this considerably more concise offering contains a slightly lesser hit to miss ratio for me. Eyes Like Glue, which should be a perfect vehicle for Cooley's salty wisdom, leaves me surprisingly unmoved. Sata Fe seems a little anonymous, and Someday It's Gonna Be I Told You So is kind of just ok. Of course, the band have actually recorded even more songs than usual this time out. The rest will be released on the forthcoming Go-Go Boots, which sounds like it should show another side of the Truckers.