Drive By Truckers - Go-Go Boots

The Athens, Georgia six piece leave behind their scuffed up swamp rock with a thrilling change of direction on this, their ninth album. Abandoning most of the volume and taking their muse down country roads makes for their most compelling set to date. Free of the fuzz and clamour of their trademark sound, songs breathe easy and the introduction of a gentler pace pays off handsomely.

With vocal and writing duties split between Patterson Hood (scorched vocals, sand-blasted folk), Mike Cooley (chanelling the spirit of Haggard and Williams) and bassist Shonna Tucker (achingly sweet broken-hearted balladry), democracy fits the band well. Hood's light-as-a-feather 'I Do Believe' and the stark portrait of adultery on the title track ("Guess it was the go-go boots that did somethin' for him / Made him think his wife was homely and boring") demonstrate the scope. Tucker's own 'Dancin' Ricky' and her cover of Eddie Hinton's 'Where's Eddie' hit the sweet spot.

Over fourteen tracks, Go-Go Boots ebbs and flows but maintains a beautifully coherent sense of identity. For once, more is more. Guitar squall or quietly picked backstoop lament, the Truckers are as dextrous as they are inspired. They're prolific, too - Go-Go Boots comes less than a year after previous album The Big To-do. If the likes of Band of Horses have awakened your inner (space) cowboy, here's an album that could send it into orbit.

Overall

8

out of 10

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