Drive By Truckers


English Oceans

ATO Records/PIAS Australia


This alternative Georgian country band are seen as one of the leaders of their genre. They have tended to fall short of expectations that the heaped praise they constantly receive would suggest, and although not the ground breakers they are credited with being, they do have a solid bank of work.

Drive By Truckers have tried to shake off the southern rock label since their concept album and thinly veiled tribute to Lynard Skynard in 2001, yet can’t help themselves here with opening track, Shit Shots Count, having plenty of gritty guitar and southern appeal, whilst being equal parts Rolling Stones.

Main songwriters Hood and Cooley share the writing duties throughout. Primer Coat has the type of guitar jangle that was prominent on Australian independent records of the ‘80s. With Cooley’s unaffected vocals it is a tune that would have sat nicely within the confines of Billy Baxter’s Sydney outfit, The Hollowmen.

Patterson Hood shows the incestuous nature of the genre by writing a tune about a Willy Vlautin character. Pauline Hawkins is a nurse in the book The Free and the song in her name here is an ode to the emotionally unattached that flows through many moods and tempos on this bar room rocker.

English Oceans doesn’t see Drive By Truckers reinventing the wheel and yet it is still their best effort in some time.