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Lucero - Women & Work (Cover Artwork)

Lucero

Lucero: Women & WorkWomen & Work (2012)
ATO Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
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Contributed by: thepopeofchili-townthepopeofchili-town
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It's hard to believe it's been three years since Lucero dropped 1372 Overton Park. That album saw the Memphis, Tenn. sextet incorporating a horn section into their punk/country hybrid attack, as well as more keys and steel guitar than ever before to great effect. On the group's latest offering, Wome.


It's hard to believe it's been three years since Lucero dropped 1372 Overton Park. That album saw the Memphis, Tenn. sextet incorporating a horn section into their punk/country hybrid attack, as well as more keys and steel guitar than ever before to great effect. On the group's latest offering, Women & Work, Lucero more or less sticks to the blueprint laid by that album, and while it might not have as strong of an impact overall, it does contain a great deal of the excellent songwriting we've come to expect from Ben Nichols & Co. and a number of songs which are sure to be future live favorites.

The record begins with a guitar lick that harkens back to the Tennessee/That Much Further West days before "On My Way Downtown" brings us back into the here and now. "On my way downtown, thought you might be around / Come on down, have a drink / Have a round, it's on me," croons Ben Nichols, sounding a great deal less raspy than he did on the majority of the group's last full-length. He's singing, as he almost always does, to an unidentified female, but the words sound like an invitation to listeners, and serve a sort of "Welcome to the record" purpose.

The title track makes full use of the keys and horns that have come to epitomize later Lucero, and coupled with some classic Nichols lyrics about letting go and having a good time, it's just as strong of a song as 1372 highlights "Sounds of the City" and "Halfway Wrong."

One of the strongest tracks on Women & Work, and the one with the biggest commercial appeal is "Who You Waiting On?". The lyrical twist ("I think it must have been me all along") comes a bit too early in the song, and would have been better reserved until the final chorus, but the bouncy, almost Gaslight Anthem-esque verses are nothing less than infectious, and if the band chooses to release it as a single, it could be huge.

Other highlights include album centerpiece "I Can't Stand to Leave You," a moody midtempo rocker which makes better use of the horn section than perhaps anything else we've heard from the group thus far, and the slower, more reflective "When I Was Young," which will sit quite nicely by "Nights Like These" in the band's live shows.

If there's a problem with Women & Work, it's pacing. The low-burning ballad "It May Be Too Late," while a fine track in its own right, comes way too early in the album. Placed right between the danceable title track and the swagger-filled "Juniper," it kind of kills the momentum of the record, and would have been better placed in the record's second half.

So while Women & Work is essentially more of the same for Lucero, the formula works as well as it ever has. At this point in Lucero's career, and with songs this strong, the band doesn't need to reinvent itself. It's hard to imagine any fans of 1372 Overton Park being disappointed with Women & Work. So go downtown, grab a drink, grab a friend, put your money in the jukebox and sing along.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Gaslight Anthem - American SlangThe Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimThe Gaslight Anthem - HandwrittenThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundLucero - 1372 Overton ParkThe Menzingers - On the Impossible PastAgainst Me! - Searching For A Former ClarityThe Flatliners - CavalcadeDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeDear Landlord - Dream Homes

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
dantattoo (September 21, 2012)

SUCKS. BAD. unless youre really into billy joel and bruce springsteen
LOSE THE HORNS, LOSE THE PIANO, LOSE THE BACK UP VOCALS
GO BACK TO TENNESSEE AND START OVER.

TVZ (April 22, 2012)

I actually totally dig this. It took me a second but its the same old Lucero. Really well written songs with some good production and a healthy dose of that STAX sound. "It may be too late" is a pretty incredible song. I really like "sometimes" as well. I will agree "Juniper" is pretty awful. Folks seem bummed when a band stretches its wings a bit. get over it.

hank2008 (April 5, 2012)

Good review.
Was originally disappointed in the lack of sad songs, but after further listenings I found this album to be pretty damn good and catchy. Only weak song is Juniper. The rest of the album is much in the vein of Overton, but with much stronger melodies. Probably their best since TMFW in my opinion.

coachchaos (March 16, 2012)

They've gone a different direction than I expected the past two albums, but I am really enjoying it. Caught the Women & Work supporting show in Dallas and the new songs were great live. The album lacks a few dirty details I've come to expect but not enough for me to disregard this album as yet another great offering.

DylanB (March 15, 2012)

Love "1372" and this is nowhere near it, that being said i've listened to it non stop for the past week. Just definitely no stand out songs for me like albums past. Plenty of good songs and still a good album, I do have to say though, 'juniper" is quite possibly my least favorite Lucero song ever.

maverick (March 14, 2012)

There are a few good songs, but the sequencing is so odd (all the Memphis soul on the first half, all the brooding alt-country on the second half), and it's odd to hear Ben actively try to sing as cleanly as he possibly can. Let's treat this album for what it is: another excuse to go back out on tour.

-Scott

GarrettIrish (March 13, 2012)

I'm not really sure how I feel about it. I've been a big fan for years, and I enjoy some of the more honky tonk stuff they've done. But this album does feel a little too clean, a little too polished. The old slow songs worked because of partly how rough they felt, I think they lose a little something when they lose that. The pacing definately seems to be an issue to me, and a few of the songs just don't really grab me much.

That said I'll keep spinning it to see if it grows on me. That said "Like Lightning" and "Sometimes" are both stand out songs to me.

coreygregory (March 13, 2012)

I am not one of those kids who just say they hate things for attention, but honestly, I dont like the album that much. It feels nothing like what a Lucero album should feel like. It feels more like a Toby Keith album or something rather than a Lucero album. Ben's voice is primarily what I am blaming for this. It is changed so much. The album isnt bad, it is just not on par with the rest if their material

coreygregory (March 13, 2012)

I am not one of those kids who just say they hate things for attention, but honestly, I dont like the album that much. It feels nothing like what a Lucero album should feel like. It feels more like a Toby Keith album or something rather than a Lucero album. Ben's voice is primarily what I am blaming for this. It is changed so much. The album isnt bad, it is just not on par with the rest if their material

party-animal (March 13, 2012)

It's growing on me and a pretty solid album over all. That said, Juniper may very well be the absolute worst song they have ever done.

Nap (March 13, 2012)

Not better than 1372 Overton Park, but still a pretty good album.

Since94 (March 13, 2012)

I think I might like this more than Overton Park.

danperrone (March 13, 2012)

i knew this was getting 4/5 before i even clicked on it, but holy shit this album is so bad. who neutered lucero? when did they start sounding like dierks bentley? this is one of the worst albums i've heard from a band i've really enjoyed in a long while.

lukabratzi (March 13, 2012)

Punknews: come for the music, stay/run away screaming for the comments

eazyd3 (March 13, 2012)

this band should stop trying so hard to sound like gaslight anthem

eazyd3 (March 13, 2012)

something something 1372 Overton Park

oldgospelchoir (March 13, 2012)

this album is Lucero playing happy drinking songs.

brangelina (March 13, 2012)

I like this and 1372 Overton Park.

telegraphrocks (March 13, 2012)

Didn't like it as much as 1372 Overton Park.

MN_DrNick (March 13, 2012)

I found this way better than 1372 Overton Park.

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