7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Drive by Truckers - Atlantic Crossing,
This review is from: English Oceans (Audio CD)
Whilst some bands mellow with age Alabama's best and brightest, the Drive by Truckers, are not ready yet to contemplate lazy days sitting on the porch. On this 12th album "English Oceans" their renewed promise of another blast of rock n roll raises the question when have they ever not been straining the volume control on Marshall amps. The USP of this album is for the first time a split in the songwriting duties between the great Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley. The latter's creative juices had dried up for a while but this 50/50 outcome showcases two great songwriters entirely capable of making you forget that Jason Isbell was once in the band.
The album is full of great kicking rockers like the opening track "S*** Shot Counts", "When He is Gone" and "Hearing Jimmy Loud". In terms of the bands explosive live act they all will pin the audience to the wall at the back of the theatre. As ever though it is when you head towards the more Americana based rootsy DBTs where the real rewards are to be located. Thus the excellent title track "Made up English Oceans" has a backbeat like rawhide and lyrics which attack Republican values; a perennial target of Cooley and Co. The same singers vocal snarl is well employed on Hood's "Till he's dead or rising" a sub Stones mid paced rocker showing that perhaps Jagger and Richards would be well advised to pick up the phone and call both of them. Hood matches this on the swagger of "Natural Light" a slow blues song which witnesses some of his best singing in years, while the shuffling alt country of "First Day of Autumn" is stunning.
Perhaps the songs which may have the longest shelf life are both Cooley's. Firstly the slow acoustic ballad "Holding On" a track that trawls his darkest thoughts, while the great closer "Grand Canyon" stretching to nearly eight minutes is the band at its best dedicating a song to Craig Lieske known affectionately by as "Graytoven" who sadly died last year at the age of 46 from an heart attack. He was the bands merchandise specialist and often jointed them on stage. The tribute culminates with the poignant line "In my dreams I still can see you/Flying through a western sky/And I think about Grand Canyon/I lift my glass and smile"
"English Oceans" is yet again an effortless and brilliant album by one of the American best bands of the past two decades. If you are new to them you can very profitably start here. If that also means you have yet to hear either the "Dirty South" or the "Southern Rock Opera" this reviewers envy is deepest green.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Mar 2014 18:50:12 GMT
'A girl as plain as a primer coat leaves nothing misunderstood'. Brilliant. Top notch review as usual RoB. The band still misses the melodic subtlety of Jason Isbell though, in my opinion. Southeastern was my album of 2013.
In reply to an earlier post on 4 Mar 2014 22:39:01 GMT
R. T. Clayton says:
Hi Bungliemutt & RoB,
I didn't quite vote Southeastern that highly in my 2013 list, but other than that, pretty much agree with what you both said.
Manchester Ritz gig in May, either of you?
Posted on 11 Mar 2014 00:03:17 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 11 Mar 2014 06:19:39 GMT]
Posted on 11 Mar 2014 23:34:27 GMT
Matthew Tokley says:
Amazon strangely deleted my first critique of this review so I will point out the same facts again. Hanging On and Grand Canyon are both Patterson Hood songs! Natural Light and First Air of Autumn are both Mike Cooley songs! Perhaps correcting a 'top 50 reviewer' is not allowed??!!
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