The New OK!
Another Very Important Album For and About The Times We Find Ourselves In.
NB. I’ve only had this album for less than 24 hours and had to sandwich a shift at work in between listening in the car and once more earlier today; before Friday’s actual ‘download/streaming’ release ….. so this is very much ‘on the hoof’ …… but that’s proving an exciting challenge; but I’m probably going to miss some nuances in the songs – so forgive me.
With such a bonkers year as 2020 is/has been so far; it’s no real surprise that I’m being inundated with new and exciting albums that have been inspired by everything that’s happening around them.
Patterson Hood the primary songwriter for Drive-By Truckers is certainly one writer who has a fire burning in his Soul at the moment!
Back in January I said of THE UNRAVELING that it was “The Most Powerful and Important Rock & Roll Record of the Decade;” and I stand by that sentiment; but in the intervening 8 months the world; and especially America has been spun 359 Degrees upside down and backwards and forwards ….. which means that Hood just had to set pen to paper again!
The title track THE NEW OK!; paraphrasing ‘The New Normal’ that someone coined to describe our lives post-Covid; but that day now seems s far away.
It’s feisty, powerful and Hood’s bile occasionally boils over; but the Beach Boys style harmonies and melody amazingly mask all that so it just may turn up on National radio …… quite by accident.
It’s no surprise that this is a very ‘angry album’ from start to finish, with the Truckers turning their amps up to 11; as they channel their Inner Clash on The Unravelling but it’s not all like that at all.
To all intents and purposes THE NEW OK! is Americana at its most intense; but that just proves with The Distance, Sarah’s Flame and the imperious Sea Island Lonely, with its Stax-era horn section that you don’t always have to shout to be heard.
Even by Drive-By Truckers standards there are three very, very important songs here and each tells its own story completely differently; yet all spark off each other on way or another.
Watching The Orange Clouds, like the title track has a lovely melody masking some deeply incisive and razor-sharp lyrics around and about the protests that swept across America (and beyond) following George Floyd’s senseless murder.
As I said earlier, this is being written as I listen; but even under those circumstances I knew immediatly that The Perilous Night is one of those songs that will stand loud and proud for decades to come ……. it’s frighteningly good and sadly all based on true events.
Now, dear reader if the Drive-By Truckers were going to include a cover version on an album like this; what do you think it would or should be?
Something from Woody? Dylan? Or maybe Neil Young?
Don’t be silly ……… turn the dial up to 11 or maybe even 12 ……. The Truckers have only gone and covered The Ramones The KKK Took My Baby Away!
Bassist Matt Patton provides punchy vocals and really does justice to this genuine Punk Classic; and who among us thought that in 2020 this song would still be relevent and even an anthem?
Because of that, it’s my Favourite Track …… but that may change next week.
I’ve got nothing left to say; THE NEW OK! stands shoulder to shoulder with its predecessor THE UNRAVELLING as ” Two of The Most Powerful and Important Rock & Roll Records of the Decade.“
The New OK
Tough To Let Go
The Perilous Night
Sea Island Lonely
Watching The Orange Clouds
The KKK Took My Baby Away
Released October 2nd 2020 (CD & Vinyl 18th December)
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