Lucero shows their lyrical and musical range in upcoming album
Punk walks into a bar with country music. They sit down to their imported beer and American whiskey, respectively, while they take a look around the place. It’s slightly run-down, but loud music and good drinks keep the place rocking. The pair then notices their old buddies rock and blues just across the way, and they make their way over. The table that they sit at is a Lucero album.
Comprised of five men from Memphis, their sound does anything but discriminate against certain genres. However, they are still able to find a way to be themselves and make music they love. Ben Nichols leads on vocals being backed by Brian Venable, John C. Stubblefield, Roy Berry and Rick Steff to give listeners a new, anticipated album by the name of When You Found Me.
It begins with steady electric guitar and an ambience of what could only be described as “cheesy-’80s-sci-fi-music.” “Have You Lost Your Way?” piques interest. Nichols’s rough, almost frantic voice then lights up the track just before, “They ask Lord have we lost our way? They ask Lord have we lost our way?” builds as the music does as well until it reaches a breaking point, yet instead of a snap, the song just fades. Upon first listen, there may be disappointment, yet as one would keep thinking and listening, one would realize that this song, as the first one on the album, is supposed to be built up. Maybe instead of foreshadowing something in the song itself, this track’s job was to excite the listener for the rest of the album.
Lucero shows the Memphis in their music with their second track of the album, “Outrun The Moon.” This bluesy-rocky mix-up would put even the straightest of arrows on a bar stool. Describing the life of a modern female outlaw, Nichols likens running from the law to trying to “outrun the moon.” Moving along to the heart of the album, listeners are sung a song called “Pull Me Close, Don’t Let Go.” With a slow, psychedelic start, the intro would not feel out of place in a Tame Impala album. It flourishes into a driving beat, a thoughtful guitar and other-worldly synths playing in the background. Definitely the most interesting song on the album, it also functions as one of the potential favorites.
“Good As Gone” is Lucero’s way of showing people their roots. It sounds as though it’s a punk song, but feels like a country song because of the way it’s accented with southern rock guitars. Another good example of a “roots song” on this record is “All My Life.” People see who they are not from their music in this one, but from their lyrics. “I was born right here in my natural state… I fell in love; I followed her east to Tennessee” rasps Nichols above the rhythmic rock instrumentation.
Sometimes around song eight or song nine on an album, it can go a little “dead.” The songs the artist really wanted you to hear have already been played, but people also haven’t gotten to the end of the album—another place the best songs are usually stashed. This album, though, did not have that. In fact, the best track comes in this little “dead spot” and it’s called “Back in Ohio.” Almost as if Springsteen had gotten a bigger and louder guitar, people can hear the rock ‘n’ roll in this song—all different sorts of guitars, a powerful drum kit topped off with a rock piano steering the melody. Subject-wise, one can appreciate the common struggle of staying true to who you are in a world that might not want who you are.
“When You Found Me,” the title track and a previously released single, begins with an admission of the darkest part of himself, “When you found me, I was fallin’,” “When you met me in the fire, I was drinking kerosene.” People have heard the story of the young, wild country singer finally settling down with a woman he loves, but the way that he does it lyrically doesn’t make that same story seem as played out as it usually does. “You found a way for me to find my way to you” is his way of thanking this woman for everything she’s done for him, even when he might not have deserved it.
Lucero does an amazing job on When You Found Me of incorporating sounds and feelings without straying too far from their path. Listeners can hear the rock, they can hear the blues, they can hear the country. It’s almost as if they were building a Ford but using parts from Chevy and Mercedes. Turns out this car works pretty well. Lucero stays true to themselves while experimenting and playing with their own creativity to deliver a truly solid album.