Maybe it's rougher than the world knows inside Drive-By Truckers' Athens, Georgia HQ, where the latest line-up change leaves Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley leading a streamlined quartet.
Drive-By Truckers: English Oceans
Literary southern rockers punch smart on tenth album.
It seems they know what they're doing too, because from the Exile On Main St swagger of Shit Shots Count in, the balance between downbeat emotion and down-home rocking is back. 'Put your cigarette out and your hat back on/And don't mess up which is which,' is Cooley's opening advice, sly word-play Hood later applies to a politician whose 'integrity was phoney an' totally Nixonian'.
Organ and harmonies signal rest for a troubled soul that may even be Hood's in Hanging On's biography of a drifting country singer. And amid Hearing Jimmy Loud's heavy honky-tonk rock and When Walter Went Crazy's drinking and doom is a girl 'plain as primer paint' who, like many here and most other places, gets by as best she can. A satisfying return.