Another line-up change following the 2011 release of Go-Go Boots doesn't seem to have stripped the meat from the bones of Southern country-rockers Drive-By Truckers. As the band's no-nonsense name suggests, the twin guitars of Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley are once again rough and ready for a Friday night session in a windowless bar just off the highway in their native Georgia.
Their portraits of Southern working-class life come complete with sweat and grime on their blue-collar metaphors: folk wisdom states that "a girl as plain as primer coat/leaves nothing misunderstood" (Primer Coat) while an unnamed politician is caustically dismissed with "his integrity was phony an'/totally Nixonian, honing in/the art of making deals". On Pauline Hawkins they're even inspired by a character in a novel by Richmond Fontaine's Willy Vlautin.
Across this, their tenth studio album, you might hear the echo of a Neil Young melody on When He's Gone or see the shadow of a Bruce Springsteen narrative in When Walter Went Crazy; you might even think the band have arranged a rendezvous with Willie Nelson in a hontytonk bar for Natural Light. But Hood and Cooley are writing like pros at the top of their game, with an authenticity that Kings Of Leon can only dream of.
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