September 5, 2009

Lucero - 1372 Overton Park (2009)

Back in April when I reviewed Ben Nichols' solo album, The Last Pale Light In The West, I knew this album, 1372 Overton Park, was in production and was curious what sort of effects, both negative and positive, a major label transition would have on Lucero's rough, road-warrior, southern indy rock sound. Any and all concerns were swept away with the opening notes of "Smoke," the opening track for both this album and their previously released six song EP. The simple, repetitious four-note piano opening builds with Nichols' vocal growl into the uplifting chorus of the year, in my opinion--"they bolted out into the streets / unknown and beautiful / UNKNOWN AND BEAUTIFUL!... into the streets" (very Springsteen)--and continues to mount into into an anthem of freedom and invincibility, until it all tapers back towards the sweet piano accents and the offer to, "run away with me tonight." How could I say "no."? I will refrain from breaking down each track, but know that Overton Park dodges the hiccups, and brings on a new and mature dynamic for the band. Perhaps my fear was that Lucero would loose some of their indy grit with this move up the corporate ladder to Universal, but by bringing in the right people to oversee the Memphis horns, which burn through tracks like "What Are You Willing To Lose" and "Sound Of The City," and due to the production and oversight, the Universal influence has simply sprinkled in a little glitter in with the southern grit.

Lucero has put together something pretty amazing here--the individual tracks are excellent, but the album as a whole is top-o-the charts. In my mind, Lucero has made great leaps forward with this album, and, thankfully, has done so without loosing their rock and punk rooted sound.


awmercy said...

I agree. So good.

awmercy said...

I especially love the horns. Fuck it. I love the whole album.