Album Review: Lucero – Women & Work

I am sure it’s pretty safe to say that Luerco is a band name that many have you have at least heard of.  Maybe you are a huge fan of them already, or perhaps you have been meaning to check them out.  For all I know, you have no idea who I am talking about. 

My point is, if you are reading this, you now are aware of a band who calls themselves Lucero and I hope by the time you finish reading this mess of works you check them out if you have not done so already.

The boys in Lucero, for those of you who do not know, hail from Memphis, TN, and have been mixing their punk rock roots with their Southern style creating some entertaining  country and indie folk rock music since the late 90s.  Recently the band dropped their ninth release in their career titled Women & Work.

The honky-tonk “On My Way Downtown” started the album right with the pure intention of getting the girl to come out and have some drinks.  “I know the last time we drank I was a little less than behaved” was sung by Ben Nichols and rubbed off as an honest apology.  The horn-heavy title track “Women and Work” followed with a let’s-drink-this-bad-day-away-feeling.  I loved the repeating lyrics: “Come on kid, let’s drink ’em down.  Kid don’t let it get ya down.”

“Juniper” was one of my favorite songs on the album.  It was just a fun upbeat Southern country / rock track perfect for getting weird to.  The combination of horns and twang was perfect.  I could only imagine the appearance (Read: “A dark-eyed beauty and a dangerous thing”) of the woman this song surrounded. 

I found myself enjoying “Who You Waiting On?” mainly with the story told.  It was a simple jam but the lyrics provided a clear image of a guy trying his luck at picking up a lone lady during last call. 

The sorrowful “I Can’t Stand To Leave You” captured perfectly that which is called heart break.  I felt the pain in that song and would be lying if I said I never felt that way once in my life. 

“When I Was Young” reminded me that age may only be a number, but memories will last a lifetime.  “Go Easy” ended the album with a  gospel vibe especially when the  female backing vocals kicked in.  “Go – go easy.  And we’ll find our way” repeated throughout the track and eventually put the album to rest.   It was a nice switch, but something I was not expecting at all.

Overall, the album was a great listen, but there were two changes I noticed.  First, I found myself missing the punk rock vibe.  I did not feel it like I have in previous Lucero albums.  It was almost like they decided to set it on the shelf this round.  Secondly, Nicolis’ voice was not nearly as raspy.  There is just something about his scratchy singing voice I have always been a fan of.  On Women & Work, his voice is a tad smoother, almost as if he was dropping lozenges while singing. 

I will say that this album grew on me tremendously after my initial listen.  At first I was scratching my head on if I liked it, but after a couple of times through, I was hooked.  I loved how personal the album was throughout and how I related with the lyrics.  It’s catchy and it’s something that punk rockers and country lovers can all enjoy equally.  Women & Work is one of those kinds albums I’d have my parents listen to and I know they would not give me shit for it, but rather, ask for more.

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