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Lucero’s sound has been a lot of things: twangy country, bar rock, melancholy alt-country, and a whole bunch of things in between. For me, they’ve always been the most piercing purveyors of sad bastard music on the sketchy side of the Mason-Dixon. I’ve loved this band through all of their incarnations and stylistic changes, but I truly do prefer them when they are moaning about a forelorned lover or regretting whiskey-fueled life choices. On their most recent work, Women & Work, they largely substituted the depressing mode of earlier work in favour of more up-beat Memphis soul sound, which I liked a little less (personal preference). Fortunately, they have seemed to lose whatever sense of happiness that they had on their newest EP called Texas & Tennessee. While the musical style isn’t that far from their newer material, there is an authenticity in these depressing-as-hell songs that I love and that harkens back to the bands earlier work.
The song “Texas & Tennessee” is a highlight of the 4-song EP and is slow, murky, and heart-felt in an impressive way that Lucero has become famous for. From there “Union Pacific Line” takes a decidedly country turn and would almost be at home on another Ben Nichols solo album. Regardless, this song is sad and amazing. “Breathless Love” seems like the most at home with the Women & Work-era Lucero that we’ve seen as of late, but there is still sadness that transcends the use of a horn section. Finally, “The Other Side of Lonesome” makes even the most chipper listener contemplate suicide…..and I mean that as a compliment. Most vocalists sound like whiney bitches or self-indulgent brats when they fill consecutive songs with laments, but Nichols has the ability to turn a phrase in such a way as to melt an old metalheads heart rather than encourage his scorn.
Yes, this is a metal/hardcore/punk review site, but Lucero is better than most bands, and I help run this site, so I’ll do whatever I damn well please.
Pick up the digital version of this EP here.