Thirty Tigers [Release date 29.01.21]
Lucero’s last album, 2018’s ‘Among The Ghosts’, was a real treat and new discovery to this reviewer. Lucero have reunited once more with Grammy Award winning producer Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Drive-by Truckers) to put together this album at the historic Sam Phillips Recording Studio, in their hometown.
Where ‘Among The Ghosts’ was a more stripped back sound, this new album sees the band tapping into a more rock sound and wider musical soundscape. The band’s other secret weapon is singer and guitarist Ben Nichols, who has the perfect voice – world weary with a southern accent – for these songs of everyday life. ‘The Match’ being a prime example, where the listener loses themselves in the tale told by the words and music.
‘Outrun The Moon’, a story of murder and escapism, is perhaps a typical Lucero song, both strong lyrically and musically. An inviting mix of country, rock and indie.
The other good thing about this album is the variety, for instance on ‘Coffin Nails’ it features a narration from Nichols own grandfather. It is this song’s ability in particular that allows you to immerse yourself in the music that makes this album such a winner.
On ‘As Good As Gone’ and ‘Back in Ohio’ they show they are adept at producing classy southern rock, with shades of Bob Seger on latter, especially on the piano playing of Rick Steff and the sax solo. Definitely one for a future single release.
It does miss the mark on ‘Pull Me Close Don’t Let Go’, however such dips are rare on the album.
‘When You Found Me’ is a plaintive ballad to finish the album on a high note. The piano, keys and acoustic guitar arrangement is sublime on this song.
Lucero are a band who know their sound and are comfortable with it, giving alt country fans a musical anchor in these uncertain times. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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