Lucero - 1372 Overton Park
I was approached to review the new Lucero album and I thought I would give this "new band" a shot. After doing some research on this band I have realized my mistake. This band will probably be one of those "overnight successes" that took 10 years to happen. Yes, they released their debut self-titled album in 2000 on a tiny label called Madjack. Now, 9 years later, the Tennessee-based band fronted by Ben Nichols is finally on a major label, Universal Republic to be precise, to release their eighth full-length album 1372 Overton Park. I'm not sure that's a good thing these days but none-the-less Lucero have delivered a lovely album of Against Me meets The Hold Steady style of roots rock.
The album opens with a slow-building track simply called "Smoke". You'll find my Against Me/Hold Steady comparison running rampant on this song. Sure, the band dabbles in roots/country but in reality Lucero probably has more in common with Bruce Springsteen than Willie Nelson. The band takes off on the second track, "What Are You Willing To Lose". I absolutely love the horns on this one. They aren't highlighted instead serve to highlight Ben's wonderful voice and lyrics.
"The Devil And Maggie Chascarillo" is a rollicking affair that leaves you singing long after it's over. They take a ride into Blues territory on "Sixes and Sevens" and Nichols sounds quite at home belting it out here. The band is comfortable with ballads as well as proven on the depressing "Goodbye Again" and "Darken Again". I think my favorite track has to be the driving "Halfway Wrong".
I'm happy to have been introduced to Lucero even if it is a decade into their career. Here's hoping that the Universal deal works out to their advantage. Check them out if you like The Hold Steady. There is a huge similarity to their sound and storytelling.
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