Lucero is a band that people feel passionately about. You either love them or hate them. Their fans are very adamant about which record is their favorite, and subsequently, the best in their eyes. With 1372 Overton Park Lucero has gone on to make what is one of the most fully realized albums of their career. Unfortunately, Lucero's vision for this new album alienated a bunch of fans. And for the people that have decided to toss this on by the wayside, you're missing out. This is the record that Lucero's been looking to record for quite a while, and the album that they deserved to make, and we should be grateful to have.
The biggest addition to the Lucero sound here is the horn section. While slightly offsetting at first, the songs have been lifted up to an entirely new level. Lucero has always written with the Memphis sound in mind. The horns have just formally realized what I feel was always in the back of their minds. Along with the horns, we occasionally are greeted with some back up singers, yet again pushing that Memphis soul sound even more to the forefront. It definitely is a creative step forward for Lucero, and while some dude with a PBR and beard is all upset that the production doesn't sound like it was recorded in a bathroom, the rest of us are in for a special treat.
The album opens up with "Smoke," a tale of two lovers trying to escape their pasts and make something together. We get the horns, the back up singers, and Ben Nichol's gravelly voice and visual storytelling. A strong opener, and definitely a good indication of what's in store for us. The next two songs, "What are You Willing to Lose" and "Sounds of the City" are two mid-tempo rockers that are vintage Lucero, but with the added horns. "Can't Feel a Thing" is a slow burner, and really comes together with the horn section. "The Devil and Maggie Chascarillo" was released to radio, and is definitely one of the stronger tracks on the album. It's a rocking dance number that will have you pounding your fist in the air, and wanting to grab your girl and dance around the living room. "Sixes and Sevens" follows, another rocker, but with a more southern rock vibe. "Goodbye Again" is the first true ballad on the album, a tale of a lover who has done the protagonist wrong, but keeps coming back, and the protagonist request for her to leave once and for all. "Johnny Davis" is another full on rocker, and is followed by the second ballad "Darken My Door." Which is the polar opposite of " Goodbye Again". In "Darken My Door" the protagonist is asking for his lover to come back. He admits to infidelities, but is a little more candid then Tiger Woods. He also goes on to confess he can still hear her footsteps across his floor, and taste her perfume. Probably one of the best tracks on the album, this is Lucero firing on all cylinders. "Halfway Wrong" picks up the tempo again, and finds Nichol serenading another girl, telling her that they both know how things are likely to end, but hey, they should give it a shot anyway. The final two tracks are slower songs; "Hey Darlin Do You Gamble?" another song for a woman. "Mom" is a song directed at you guessed it, a mother. The protagonist stating to his mother, that yes, he may make some mistakes, but that the lessons that she imparted to him weren't lost. A touching ending to another incredible album by Lucero.
1372 Overton Park is Lucero finally being able to make the record they've always imagined. Quite possibly the hardest working band in rock and roll, Lucero is finally getting the recognition they deserve. With a fuller, more realized sound, they are on the verge of breaking through to a larger audience, without giving up an ounce of who they are. While maybe not my favorite album of theirs, if you've enjoyed anything they've done in the past, and aren't afraid to here a rock band stretch themselves, and fill out their sound with horns, then you should grab this disc.