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1372 Overton Park
Universal Republic

FINALLY, a serious contender for album of the year. Took long enough. Now, I do not go tossing out full marks willy nilly, but Ben Nichols and crew have REALLY stepped up their game on this one. Underneath the amazing horn arrangements, courtesy of Jim Spake (celebrated Memphis session player who has worked with Al green and Solomon Burke), and the amazing production led by Ted Hutt (Gaslight Anthem), lies an entire album of well written songs. Ben Nichols has the innate ability to be forthcoming as a Casanova of sorts, being able to charm the panties off of 85% of my female friends.

While this album kind of nuzzles up to the teat of Memphis honky tonk, neither their punk fans nor their country base should find this to be anything less than astounding. Mixing up toe tapping jaunts (“Can’t Feel a Thing”), rowdy singalongs (“Goodbye Again”) and head-noddin’, air-guitarin’, eyes-a-squintin’ jams (“Darken My Door”), Lucero REALLY hit the nail on the head with this bad boy.

–Jonathan Yost