Release Date: Sep 18, 2015
Record label: ATO
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
If 1372 Overton Park and Women & Work were the celebration, Luceroâ€™s new album All a Man Should Do is the hangover. Itâ€™s a welcome style change from a band that spent the last few records as the life of the alt-country party.After 15 years, Ben Nichols is the peopleâ€™s tired troubadour. He and the band have been all over -- Texas, Tennessee, California.
Sometimes a man wants to rock out, and other times he wants to sit back with a beer and think about where life has been leading him. Lucero are clearly in the latter mood on All a Man Should Do, which is the most subdued and contemplative album the Memphis-based band has delivered in some time. The songs and the performances are no less passionate than Lucero has ever been, but while this band usually hits like a Dixie-fried fusion of Bruce Springsteen and the Replacements, All a Man Should Do is an album about reflection and even remorse, pondering love that's gone wrong ("They Called Her Killer," "Baby, Don't You Want Me") and places and people that are no longer what they used to be ("Went Looking for Warren Zevon's Los Angeles," "Woke Up in New Orleans"), and the introspective middle-of-the-night feel of these sessions rings as true as the band's most rollicking material.
Nashville is such a musical mecca that it's easy to forget the city lying about 200 miles west not only has better BBQ, but is home to one of the richest musical legacies of the 20th century. From W.C. Handy to Big Star to Three 6 Mafia, Memphis has birthed some of the most important artists in the history of pop music. If there's a single band doing its best to carry the torch and embody (almost) all of those strains of Memphis music today, it's Lucero.
LuceroAll A Man Should Do(ATO)Rating: 3. 5 out of 5 stars The title of the new Lucero album is taken from Big Star’s “I’m In Love With A Girl,” a left-field cover that the band has included on the disc. The choice of songs is telling; the band has softened some of their rougher, punker edges through the years, so now they have no trouble delivering a sweetheart ballad from the legendary power-poppers (Big Star’s Jody Stephens even guests on backing vocals.
Lucero's new album All A Man Should Do includes a song called "Went Looking For Warren Zevon's Los Angeles" that depicts lead songwriter Ben Nichols' travels around the City of Angels, tracking the locations referred to by Zevon's margarita-soaked song "Desperados Under The Eaves. " Throughout All A Man Should Do, but especially on that song, Nichols discusses his own ruinous habits, which often mirror those of Warren Zevon. This is Lucero's first record since 2012's Women and Work, and ironically, All A Man Should Do deals primarily with the struggle between the life of a working and drinking musician and domestic harmony.
How has it taken this long for Lucero to record a song called “Went Looking For Warren Zevon’s Los Angeles?” Like Zevon, Lucero’s singer-songwriter Ben Nichols works within a country-rock style that favors ballads as much as rave-ups, with simple melodies that are sneakily catchy. And Nichols too has a Zevon-like way of shifting almost imperceptibly between colorful fiction and stark confessional. “Warren Zevon’s Los Angeles” is the second song on Lucero’s 10th LP, All A Man Should Do, and it’s a moving mix of reportage and self-reflection, with Nichols singing about what he’s seen out in L.A.
Memphis, Tennessee's Lucero, since their earliest albums, have always come across as grizzled and wise old outlaws. Even their most raucous tunes seem to be filtered through a hangover. And while lead singer Ben Nichols is keenly aware of the consequences of hard livin', the slow march of time has never been more at the forefront than it is on All A Man Should Do, their 10th full-length.