Lucero - Nobody's Darlings (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Nobody's Darlings (2005)

EastWest / Lament

Lucero return to the scene with Nobody's Darlings; the question is, though, what scene? In 2003, the quartet released what most consider their definitive release: That Much Further West, an indie inspired alt-country record which showed that the band had matured significantly together and cemented their distinct sound. The safe route for the Memphis, TN group would be to continue down that path; however, the road they did travel upon only brought them to craft their fourth full-length with the help of Jim Dickinson (Bob Dylan, the Replacements, Rolling Stones) in the style of a pure Southern rock record.

While there are still signs from the previous effort (see "Sixteen" and "All the Same To Me"), the majority of Nobody's Darlings is rock‘n'roll from below the Mason-Dixon line at its finest. From the wheel-turning guitar chug in "Watch It Burn" to the burley Southern dialect of vocalist/guitarist Ben Nichols proves that the choice to further expand their musical horizon is no mistake. Having already pulled comparisons to the legendary Johnny Cash and late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, a draw to Mike Ness of Social Distortion is heavily hinted at on the high-flying "Bikerider."

Not many albums can paint a picture before your eyes as the ambience fills the airwaves, but as the dust from the speeding motorcycle settles, a beautiful sun-filled horizon comes into focus as the title track guides another shot of whiskey down. "…And we raise a glass" croons the rough Nichols as "And We Fell" chases another shot down at the bar with your closest friends on a cool summer's evening.

The slower rockers on the record such as "Noon As Dark A Midnight," "Hold Me Close," and the aforementioned two tracks are some of the most refreshing of the year; nothing is more exciting than the raw, balls out Dixie-guitar blazers such as "California" and another late evening drinking song "Last Night In Town." The finishing touch to this perfect road trip mixture of songs is the most mature and emotionally depressing song Lucero have ever written. A gloomy tale of a lonely World War II draftee who took his own life solidifies the impact the group has nailed with Nobody's Darlings: An emotional ride that is every bit as enjoyable as it is remarkably lifelike.