Punknews.org
Lucero - Rebels, Rogues, & Sworn Brothers (Cover Artwork)

Lucero

Lucero: Rebels, Rogues, & Sworn BrothersRebels, Rogues, & Sworn Brothers (2006)
East/West

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: Ben_ConoleyBen_Conoley
(others by this writer | submit your own)

When Lucero re-released The Attic Tapes earlier this year, frontman Ben Nichols wrote in the liner notes that Lucero is no longer an acoustic/solo country project. With that said, any claims that Lucero is abandoning their country roots are entirely without merit. Besides, Lucero has always embraced.


When Lucero re-released The Attic Tapes earlier this year, frontman Ben Nichols wrote in the liner notes that Lucero is no longer an acoustic/solo country project. With that said, any claims that Lucero is abandoning their country roots are entirely without merit. Besides, Lucero has always embraced the spirit of punk rock in their songs, perhaps more than many punk bands do.

But relax -- they don't abandon a thing.

A lot of people were expecting Lucero to release the perfect album with Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers, the band's fifth studio album. There's no doubt that it's the band's best work to date. While 2005's Nobody's Darlings was a noticeable bridge between their more straight-up country sound and a more Memphis-injected sound, Rebels represents a complete embrace of the latter.

Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers is a grand record in every direction. The album's lead track, "What Else Would You Have Me Be" sets the stage perfectly with its Springsteen-inspired guitar and huge, rolling melodies. It's as though the song picks the listener up and carries them over a long journey over rolling hills. It's an absolutely beautiful song. The stage set by Lucero early on sees that even the most hopeless themes can be presented with grandeur, as the music often does for Nichols' lyrics.

However, just as Lucero is able to quickly set the listener up with one kind of expectation, they throw a curveball. The album's second song, "I Don't Wanna Be the One," stands up strong enough on its own, but when following "What Else Would You Have Me Be," comes off as one-dimensional. Just as quickly, things pick up again with "San Francisco," leaving the listener to wonder why "I Don't Wanna Be the One" found such a prominent place on the album.

The album is also the most commercially appealing of Lucero's catalogue and it comes complete with a lead-off single: "I Can Get Us Out of Here," which immediately presents itself as a timeless song and without a doubt one of the strongest Lucero has ever written.

The first third of the album really sets the bar high for what's to follow. By and large, what does follow is the musical excursion that Lucero seems to have been teasing their fans with all along. In "Nineteen Seventy Seven" and "On the Way Back Home," things slow almost to a halt reminding me why I so often choose a bottle of Jim Beam to listen to Lucero with. "She Wakes When She Dream" closes the album off in a decidedly underproduced fashion. While none of the songs come to match the tempo or pure Memphis rock influence as early on, songs like "Cass" and "The Mountain" come close.

I enjoy the Lucero that has traditionally stumbled through a record with a number of sounds. While they've never journeyed too far out of their comfort level (or mine), they've never been afraid to lay out a myriad of sound. However, they've brought a sound to the stronger tracks on Rebels. Rogues & Sworn Brothers that they've never shown before. After hearing those songs, there's nothing left to want and everything else seems to be filler -- although fantastic filler.

In short, some of the songs on Rebels are the best Lucero has ever written. The rest are for the most part as good as anything they've ever done -- which no longer seems to be enough.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundLucero - That Much Further WestAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldLucero - TennesseeThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Jawbreaker - Dear YouAlkaline Trio - Goddamnit

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
schrutebucks (August 29, 2008)

What an album, what a band. There is literally no reason this band shouldn't get all the praise The Hold Steady gets (deservedly). Ben Nichols carries more emotion in his voice than any other singer in rock music today.

GlassPipeMurder (December 20, 2006)

not impressed.
maybe my expectations were too high.

notfeelingcreative (October 11, 2006)

i dint refer to that. i was wondering where this fit in:

"Lucero has always embraced the spirit of punk rock in their songs, perhaps more than many punk bands do."

not sure where the punk rock spirit is

Oh, I misunderstood your objection! Nah, i don't see/hear any 'punk rock spirit' in Lucero, with the excpeption of the fact that they've gotten this far without much radio/mainstream media attention. I think, for some reason, people think they have to make that comparison so people don't question the relevance of certain bands or artists being mentioned!

Scruffy (October 8, 2006)

I never meant to imply that it meant I was an expert on anything. I mentioned it just to show that I prefer Jawbreaker to Lucero by no small degree, to show that even a hardcore Jawbreaker fan can like Lucero's version better.

I should mention I'm mostly referring to Lucero's live version, which, with everything Lucero, is probably infinitely better than their recorded version.

Anonymous (October 8, 2006)

Scruffy - it sounds like you really believe what you're talking about and that's totally cool. (Though you're still wrong about "Dear You.") But I'd urge you to remember, a tattoo doesn't make you an expert.

Elitism helps make punk more than just a hairstyle.

Anonymous (October 8, 2006)

though nothing to do with this album. i for one like jawbreaker's version of "kiss the bottle" better though i do enjoy lucero's cover.

Anonymous (October 8, 2006)

if you guys have never heard the red 40 cd and are a big lucero fan, do your self a favor and pick it up. its ben nichols band before lucero, and you can tell a blatant ripoff/love of jawbreaker on it. its pretty much if you mixed lucero with jawbreaker, and its in my opinion his best stuff to date

jockmcbored (October 8, 2006)

Scruffy - i don't like jawbreaker but what a magnificent post. Shove it down their elitist throats!!! well done bud

jockmcbored (October 8, 2006)

Posted by notfeelingcreative on 2006-10-06 21:29:44

"how are lucero punk? they always seem like a slow country band to me

They're not a punk rock band, I don't think they claim to be, and if you're referring to this webiste, they've also covered: weezer, elliot smith, dinosaur jr, johnny cash, and countless others that don't fit the typical definition of punk rock. Hey, TIm Barry and Gwomper do backup vocals on the album, maybe that's good enough for you?"

i dint refer to that. i was wondering where this fit in:

"Lucero has always embraced the spirit of punk rock in their songs, perhaps more than many punk bands do."

not sure where the punk rock spirit is

Scruffy (October 8, 2006)

Last.fm conversations are invading the 'Org!!!

danperrone (October 8, 2006)

dear you is not miles ahead of born to run

baseball (October 8, 2006)

Dear You is miles ahead of any other Jawbreaker release

sorry but it's true, and that's saying more about how good Jawbreaker was than anything

Scruffy (October 8, 2006)

I apologize that I wasn't born in the mid-seventies. I'm such a jerk for that. I guess I'm not allowed to have a tattoo of a band that changed my life simply because I happened to get into them after they'd broken up.

You're clearly one of those older guys who can't see past their own knee-jerk reaction to Jawbreaker's signing to Geffen to see what a fantastic album Dear You is. Sure, Bivouac has the best song they ever wrote (Chesterfield King), and Shield Your Eyes is rad, but the production on it is even worse than Unfun, and half of the songs are boring. Jawbreaker is a band that constantly improved. Don't get stuck on being indier than everyone else.

Also, I'm 24. Hardly a kid, though you're probably one of those old punks that thinks that anyone younger than they are is a kid. I've been into Jawbreaker for about 6 years now, and when I got Dear You, a couple of months after owning all of their other CDs, it changed my life. The record had a profound effect on how I saw music, my place in it, and my ability to create. It challenged me more than anything else I'd heard, while pushing me to try instead of intimidating me. I've never heard another album like it. And if you're willing to ignore Blake's continually developing genius so you can listen to an album that, had they not gone on to record 24 Hour and Dear You, would have fallen into complete obscurity, but hey, it's more punk than Dear You, and claim that you "get it", then go ahead. But don't claim that I don't understand them or that they can't mean anything to me.

Candy Apple Grey was better than anything Husker Du released on SST as well.

Anonymous (October 8, 2006)

You clearly got into Jawbreaker too late to appreciate why "Dear You" was such a disappointment after "Bivouac." Which is sad, because it suggests you're just a kid with a tattoo from a band you never saw and didn't understand. You might as well have gotten a big Nike swoosh.

Scruffy (October 8, 2006)

M'kay.

Anonymous (October 8, 2006)

If you think "Dear You" was "the best album ever" you're clearly not qualified to comment on Jawbreaker. I have Attic Tapes and enjoy the cover - it's an interesting and different take on the song - but saying it's better is just plain wrong.

swingline (October 8, 2006)

there's some really good songs on here as well as some really bad ones.

graphix (October 8, 2006)

The first time I heard Lucero was when I heard Tennessee. I'm not going to lie - wasn't impressed. I slowly raised my fist in an angered fury and brought it down with a force proportional to the very essence of my soul.

But for RR&SB, applause is the only gift I bring. For the gift of appreciation is perhaps the greatest gift of all. The more I listen to this album, the more I say "good work son, good work".

Scruffy (October 8, 2006)

""As much as I love Jawbreaker, Lucero does "Kiss The Bottle" better than they ever did."

I heard oasis does a kickass Eleanor Rigby, but come on, thats the most hyperbolic statement one can make.

wyzo"

No, he's right. I have a Jawbreaker tattoo, and have been in arguments with other members of this board where I claim Dear You as the best album ever, and I even say Lucero does Kiss The Bottle at least as good, if not better than, Jawbreaker.

danperrone (October 7, 2006)

also i just don't hear the bruce springsteen in some of these songs, MAYBE the rising-era stuff but i feel like that's pushing it

Kursk (October 7, 2006)

This is not their best album but there are some really fucking good songs on here. I couldn't get into this CD for the first 5 songs because I just though they weren't very good, not stand out, not remarkable or anything, that is until Cass rolled around which is easily one of my new favorite songs by them and from there on I loved the album. Get this is you are a fan of Lucero, if you've never heard them before, go pick up "That Much Further West"

sciulli (October 7, 2006)

Lucero is one of my favorite bands and dang, this release is so good. Maybe my favorite by them. All the songs are so damn good and memorable.

wyzo (October 7, 2006)

Since further west, the last LP I bought, more often I'm turned away by there 'rock' sound.

I never thought, or wanted, Lucero to be described as Springsteen-esque, No offence intended boss.

wyzo

wyzo (October 7, 2006)

"As much as I love Jawbreaker, Lucero does "Kiss The Bottle" better than they ever did."

I heard oasis does a kickass Eleanor Rigby, but come on, thats the most hyperbolic statement one can make.

wyzo

salsashark (October 7, 2006)

As much as I love Jawbreaker, Lucero does "Kiss The Bottle" better than they ever did.

Benjasauruss (October 7, 2006)

Good review.

This band covers Jawbreaker. They are definitely southern punk kids playing country music.

notfeelingcreative (October 6, 2006)

how are lucero punk? they always seem like a slow country band to me

They're not a punk rock band, I don't think they claim to be, and if you're referring to this webiste, they've also covered: weezer, elliot smith, dinosaur jr, johnny cash, and countless others that don't fit the typical definition of punk rock. Hey, TIm Barry and Gwomper do backup vocals on the album, maybe that's good enough for you?

nocigar (October 6, 2006)

this album is fucking fantastic. I have never been let down by this band, very solid release.

jockmcbored (October 6, 2006)

how are lucero punk? they always seem like a slow country band to me

notfeelingcreative (October 6, 2006)

Great record, so much better than "Nobody's Darlings"!!

Anonymous (October 6, 2006)

Cass is such an awesome song, I could listen to it all day.

Cos (October 6, 2006)

I have such an emotional attachment to "Fight Songs". That album lived with me for 4 months of so many good times, I feel tingles when I put it on. But "Too Far To Care" was my first Old 97's album and its still my favorite (your first was "Fight Songs" so I understand). But you're right about FS having Murray's two best songs--you know, his wife did a solo album that Murray played and sang on. I think her name was Grey Diselle.

Personally, I'm still waiting for the loooooooooong delayed Ranchero Brothers album (Rhett Murray accoustically). There's a song on iTunes you can buy, "Sweet Thing Pine Bluff". If you haven't yet, I suggest downloading it immediately.

ACM (October 6, 2006)

I'm a big Lucero fan but I think this album is about 5050 great and just ok. Tracks 7 through 11 are great, the others wouldn't make it onto any Lucero mix cd I was making. They are better than most bands could write but just aren't that great for Lucero.

marcusd (October 6, 2006)

this album is a fucking classic. Right up there with That Much Further West

Scruffy (October 6, 2006)

I saw the Old 97s about a year before Drag It Up came out, and I memorized the chorus to "Won't Be Home No More". I had it in my head for almost a year before I could relieve it with hearing the actual version. Same thing happened with The Stryder and that "This Is The Time, This Is The Place" song, or whatever it was called.

I still say Fight Songs is the best. It balances the country and the pop better than anything else they've done. It's neither one, nor the other. Also, it has two of Murray's best songs. Man, when is he going to release a solo record?

looczar (October 6, 2006)

I definitely don't think this is there best album to date, but it's pretty damn good. There are quite a few tracks that are forgetable. The comparison of Ben Nichols to Bruce Springstein ring especially true on this release (I Can Get Us Out of Here Tonight & What Else Would You Have Me Be).

On some of the songs on this album, Lucero started to sound a lot like Driveby Truckers to me and I found myself wanting to listen to them instead, as I think they do the southern guitar rock much better. That said, Ben Nichols is one of the best singer/songwriters out there in music. I can't wait to catch Lucero when they swing through Denver later this month... There is no better soundtrack to knocking back cheap beers and whiskey shots.

I agree with the person who said that That Much Further West is there best (my personal favorite anyway).

As far as Old 97s, I agree with starting with Too Far to Care... Wreck Your Life is great too. The thing about Old 97s is they steadily progressed towards a poppier sound until there last album, Drag It Up, which saw them return to their country roots. I think Drag It Up ranks up there with Wreck Your Life and Too Far to Care. The openning track, Won't Be Home, is a fucking phenomenal tune. A better break-up song has not been written (if you disregard Dashboard Confessional whiney shit).

Alas, I have waxed on far too long... This Lucero album, like all of their releases, is kick ass.

Anonymous (October 6, 2006)

Brian did the liner notes to the Attic Tapes, both the original pressing and the recent re-release.

Cos (October 6, 2006)

When did the Old 97's play on Craig Fergason? If it was in the last year or so, it was probably "New Kid", which is off their last one, "Drag It Up". Each Old 97s CD is very different from one another--they seem to alternate between leaning to pop or folk. Their two most fun, energetic albums are "Wreck Your Life" and "Too Far To Care". I'd start with "Too Far To Care", as its such a great monster country punk album with some great drinking songs on it. After that, just go with the live double disc or the best of compilation.

I'm a super fan, so I love Rhett's solo stuff, but I wouldn't go there until you've checked out everything the 97's have to offer..

--Cos

Anonymous (October 6, 2006)

this singer sounds like kurt cobain if he were from tennessee...instead of just dead. and good call with the jim beam, it's definitely the only liquor that does lucero justice.

coffinfullofnails (October 6, 2006)

Good Review. Other than ,That Much Further West, in my opinion this is their best album to date. can't wait to see them soon.

baseball (October 6, 2006)

pretty much agree with the review

the more i listen to this album the more i think it's their best work yet....the first week some of the songs weren't catching with me but they do now

i like this a lot more than Nobody's Darling and probably just slightly more than Tennessee and That Much Further West

Anonymous (October 6, 2006)

It's refreshing to hear them crank up the amps and rock out a little bit more, I always thought their older albums were a tad heavy on the ballads. This is probably their best album to date.

Didn't like the review, though.

Dakotacore (October 6, 2006)

Thanks,Scruffy. I get paid on the 15th. I will be picking them up. Does anyone remember what song they played on Graig Ferguson? I want the album with that song on it. I heard the song and had it in my head for weeks, but thanks to beer and whiskey, I forgot how it goes a long time ago.

FuckYouOiOiOi (October 6, 2006)

the singer of this band sounds like a combination of Tom Gabel and the guy from Nickelback.

DiscoFucker (October 6, 2006)

This album is PHENOMENAL. These guys are really proving themselves as, bar-none, one of the best rock and roll bands going.

Scruffy (October 6, 2006)

Dakotacore-
The Old 97s are phenomenal. I got into them with what I now consider their second worst or evn maybe their worst album, Sattelite Rides. Pick up Fight Songs first and then Too Far To Care. Rhett Miller's first solo album, The Instigator, is fantastic as well (though his second solo album, which came out this year, is terrible. It has a similar title, which I can't recall right now, so don't get the two confused).

Anonymous (October 6, 2006)

After missing them for the past three years, I'm finally going to see them this December. As for the album, I've only listened to it once so far, but I have really like what I have heard.

brodave_17 (October 6, 2006)

this gets my vote for album of the year

Dakotacore (October 6, 2006)

I really enjoy Lucero. I wish I could get some of their songs on a jukebox when I am at the bar. The perfect drinking tunes. Also, are the Old 97's any good. I remember seeing them on either Craig Ferguson or Conan like 2 years ago, and the song they played was awesome. But everytime I went to look for their CD, the store was either sold out, or I found something else I wanted even more. What is a good CD to start with?

Anonymous (October 6, 2006)

Old 97s are grand.

sirens (October 6, 2006)

this deserves a 9/10.

Anonymous (October 6, 2006)

lillingtons leaked

Cos (October 6, 2006)

Its strange that you don't quote ANY of the lyrics on the album.

Lucero, along with a small handful of others like Jawbreaker and the Old 97's, are one of the only rock bands to whose lyrics I pay close attention.

--Cos

tylerdurden8136 (October 6, 2006)

Fuck my drunken self needs to hit the refresh button more often.

tylerdurden8136 (October 6, 2006)

Where's Scruffy's review?

Scruffy (October 6, 2006)

"a 9/10? give me a break...this is like a 5/10 at best"

I gave it a 6. I'm crossing my fingers that my review will be posted soon as well (though I wouldn't care that much if it isn't, as it didn't take too long to write).

SloaneDaley (October 6, 2006)

this is a release I'm waiting to buy, this review is kinda where my expectations are for the record hopefully you speak truths

mattp330 (October 6, 2006)

on no, danperrone isn't a huge fan

danperrone (October 6, 2006)

a 9/10? give me a break...this is like a 5/10 at best

this has some of the best songs they've ever written ("on the way back home", "what else would you have me be") but around half the album, maybe a little more is weak as shit dude

BrendanKelly (October 6, 2006)

is this that band that tom said he was gonna do a split with?

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go