Drive-By Truckers – English Oceans

English Oceans is the twelfth album by Americana stalwarts the Drive-By Truckers and the first to contain a 50/50 split on song writing and vocal duties between Paterson Hood and Mike Cooley, this gives the record a slightly different feel to previous work but ultimately it’s a trick that pays off well. With solid musicianship across all thirteen tracks it beautifully blends alt-country, blues and rock and can go from mellow to full on in the course of one song. Tracks like ‘When He’s Gone’ ‘Pauline Hawkins’ and ‘When Walter Went Crazy’ are reminiscent of Richmond Fontaine as they play out as stories containing some great characters. Opener ‘Shit Shots Count’ has an early Stones feel to it as does a few others that while being carefully constructed can still have a sense of the ramshackle. With the addition of horns and organs the band delivers a great base for the Hood/Cooley lyrics to sit on and I admit it takes a few listens for it to open up but when it does I can’t help but press play every time closer ‘Grand Canyon’ fades out.


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