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DRIVE BY TRUCKERS ENGLISH OCEANS ALBUM REVIEW 2014

 

DRIVE BY TRUCKERS - ENGLISH OCEANS

ATO RECORDS

MARCH 4 2014

Dive right in ... The Truckers are back...

 

 

 

Drive by Truckers has long been one of my favourite Southern Rock outfits. Honest as the day is long and full of bourbon, piss and vinegar - they’ve fluctuated, you feel, rather than evolved, musically over the years, sometimes harder, sometimes more Country but here on ‘English Oceans’ we find them taking it back to basics.

 

English Oceans, the 12th release by Athens, Georgia’s Drive-By Truckers, is to be honest the harder edged album I’d been hoping for some time and finds the band in fine form. It’s also an album unusual in that 12 of the albums lucky 13 songs are written by singer-guitarists Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley. Indeed Cooley coming back to the song-writing fold in a a way he really never has before is where this album is so strong: at times his lyrics have you wide mouthed, none more so than on Cooley’s ‘Made Up English Oceans’ which paints a picture of the career of Lee Atwater, the Republican spin doctor of the Reagan and Bush campaigns of the ‘80s.


As well as Cooley and Hood’s character-led songs which they do so well telling tall tales of relationships in freefall, there is some great subject matter , Hood’s ‘Pauline Hawkins’ for example is based on a yet unpublished novel by  Willy  Vlatin. Elsewhere lyrically we’re back to DBT’s keen interest in politics – with ‘The Part of Him’ taking inspiration from the political scandals we hear year in year out no matter where you are in the Western word.


Musically this is essential Truckers and after a wonderful last outing in 2011’s ‘Go-Go Boots’ I have to say this is even stronger. If you’re looking for singles forget about it: this is an album you need to savor and live with.  

 

by Mark Diggins

 

 

 

DRIVE BY TRUCKERS ENGLISH OCEANS ALBUM REVIEW 2014