Time to look at a bunch of albums that came across our desk this week. Our pick of the litter, the new Lucero album ‘Women & Work‘, one of the year’s must have albums. Also right up there, ‘Come Back As Rain‘ from Good Old War. The soon to be released newie from The Real McKenzies, ’Westwinds‘. We also check out John K Samson’s debut solo album ‘Provincial‘. See below for our thoughts on each of the releases.
LUCERO – Women And Work [ATO / Shock] – In stores now. [Buy on CD]
It’s been a few years between albums from these guys but thankfully to tie us over we’ve had solo shows from Ben Nichols and a full band tour while we’ve been waiting. With an impressive back catalogue, expectations were high for this album, and they’ve been met and then some with its arrival. It just ticks all the right boxes, it has style, swagger and instant appeal. Variety is another strong point of the album, no two songs are the same yet they are all instantly ‘Lucero’. Production suits the style just perfectly and I’m itching for the vinyl to land to hear it on that format too. Not going to bother picking out highlights, because I’m loving it from start to finish. A million spins later and it’s nowhere near getting old. Go pick it up, top of the list so far for albums released this year easily.
GOOD OLD WAR – Come Back As Rain [Sargent House] – Available now. [Buy on iTunes]
Available only digitally locally at this stage, I don’t think it’ll be too long until someone picks up on this album and / or tours them to our shores. I remember someone putting me onto these guys and their 2008 debut album ‘Only Way To Be Alone’ which wound up fast becoming the album you reach for when you want something bright but chilled out. This album takes that chilled out brightness to a whole new level and there’s a few tracks on here that should see the band really blow up this year. I don’t usually have the patience for much indie rock, but these guys really draw me in with their glow. It’s uplifting, catchy as as it comes and just fun in general. Some great songwriting too. ‘Amazing Eyes’ is bound to make it’s way onto some big time mushy film soundtrack, ‘Calling Me Names’ and ‘Not Quite Happiness’ have great appeal, my favourite of the lot though, ‘It Hurts Everytime’ with its nice little country twang. Look these guys up, hard to not love.
THE REAL McKENZIES – Westwinds [Fat Wreck / Shock] – Available March 30 [Download 'The Message']
I’ve been hit and miss with these guys in the past, they have some great songs, but have never put together a complete album that’s been to my liking. This offering is much the same. There’s a handful of shining moments, but for the most part it doesn’t really tred far enough from the foundation to go down as memorable unfortunately. Only so much bagpipe my ears can handle I guess. As fun as it would be with a belly full of booze and the band on stage, the live energy doesn’t really translate to the studio and the flat moments are a fair way behind the great ones. It’s not awful, it’s just a bit much of the same old to digest, perhaps best listened to in small doses a few tracks at a time rather than all at once.
JOHN K SAMSON – Provincial [Anti-] – Available Now [Get It on CD or Vinyl]
With a loyal group of followers and a bundle of EP’s it’s finally time for a (technically – if you don’t count an old cassette) debut full-length from the former Propagandhi / now Weakerthans member. Long time fans will recognise a bunch of the tracks, re-recorded from previous releases mixed in with the new batch. It’s not an every day / any mood type of album. To really enjoy it, you need to be in the mood or you’ll probably struggle. John is a great storyteller through his lyrics and I found myself more interested in following the stories than the music itself. I don’t think there was anything overly memorable music wise, lyric wise is another story, very easily drawn in. That said it’s definitely not a dud release, it’s great, you just need that right place / right time situation.