Pick-ups and break-ups, two more drinks and one last kiss. That’s what weekends are made of in Memphis, Tennessee; and on their 10th release, Women & Work, Lucero, invite you along for the ride.
The album starts its engine with the apologetic, “Downtown (intro) / On My Way Downtown” a rousingly familiar plea for a bottle of beer and a shot of redemption, and only gets better from there. Turn it up and make your way through the muggy Memphis weekend you’ve always heard about as Singer/Songwriter Ben Nichols takes his punches and tells it like it is, spouting hard-learned advice on title track “Women & Work”, while drinking his own pity in the melancholy sing-a-long, “It May Be Too Late”. My pick for stand-out track “Who You Waiting On?” – a wonderfully insightful trek along a pick-up line, evoking the ghosts of Paul Westerberg or Rickie Lee Jones’ best offerings.
Let’s be honest…We all long for the days when our engines were perpetually revved and our hearts perpetually broken. This is why the record works so well, offering brief episodes of your past, and making it look better than it really was. For all of the coolness that oozes from this record, it doesn’t leave you on the outside looking in. While Lucero are totally too cool for school, they make you feel like you are too.
Though listeners may hear touches of everyone from Springsteen (on “Like Lightning”), to Lyle Lovett, to the aforementioned Westerberg and Jones; Women & Work never comes across as derivative. It easily makes its case as a straightforward, well-crafted rock record that would work just as well in 1975, as it does in 2012. Good is good, and this is damn good.