Formed back in 1996, Drive-by Truckers have since maintained a nudging career detailing the southern rock realism and story-like tellings most associated with true America. Their latest album and 11th studio record American Band delves deeper into the band’s music formula – an enriching hard southern rock flare with a gritty and noble story telling fashion.
Ramon Casiano get’s the record started with a likeable stream of guitar heavy sprawlings and classic rock vocals. It’s a large sounding country-southern jam, gregarious with a sleek and genuine summoning. This feeling trickles into the oscillations of the record’s next track – Darkened Flags At The Cusp of Dawn. Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood’s yin and yang vocals mitigate with the vintage and full-bodied guitar moments. Sounding at times like a Neil Young cover, this track grips the southern-rock vibrancy that has defined the band’s detailed and venerating musical character. Proudly incorporating analogue recording techniques and relevant methods, this striking process is felt throughout the record’s most pleasantly pieced and genuine moments. Tracks like Guns Of Umpqua display a well-balanced richness and individual expression. Feathery guitar consoles evolve around faint and powerful singing points.
The drums are also neatly packaged and well distributed over the varying emotions on the record. This is better felt in the track Sun Don’t Shine. Clear-cut mastering and raw energy tips inside the trickling instrumental articulation that lightly institutes around the cradling of a piano and drum assemblage. Then there’s the harder classic-rock hypnotic number Kinky Hypocrite – sounding more like it could be an unearthed gem from 1975. Varying tastes and musical flows bleed into different paths that make up the majority of American Band. Ever South plays with a grunge casing, hinting at snippets of a mid-nineties aura complete with snare flickers and selective piano licks, while the slow and cosy pleasantries that glow with Once They Banned Imagine detail struggle and shatter explored in the emotionally intoxicating lyrics. The record soon closes with it’s most established feature; Baggage – an aligned and tense rock heavy hitter. Representing the southern style of distorted guitar joltings and particular chord progressions both rough and flexible – encapsulating an expansive and seething body of work.
If there’s a main point worth illuminating, it’s that Drive-by Truckers have reached a notable peak in their sound and creative confidence. Like the title states, They’re an American Band, and the album could not be more of a comprehensive representation of how to go about that musically and stylistically.