“A girl as plain as primer coat leaves nothing misunderstood,” sings Drive-By Truckers’ Mike Cooley on “Primer Coat.” Like that initial coat, whether or not it ever gets a second, is why English Oceans is a great album. Their 12th full-length offering is straightforward and raw, with no further pretences than to be the usual Truckers world of loveable, down-on-their-luck rogues, faded personal glory and the cagey, sinister political figure. In the latter case, they’re obviously Republicans either coming from, or pandering to, Southern roots as the lines, “He was elected/Wingnut-raised and corn-fed/Teabags dragging on the chamber floor,” allude. While some might care to debate about whether or not Cooley or Patterson Hood own the record, one can’t deny that the two of them have made what is the best offering from the band since Decoration Day.

By Spencer Brown

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