I was having a chat with a musician friend of mine about the consistency of David Lowery's discography the other day. Although we discussed Camper Van Beethoven a bit, most of our thoughts revolved around Cracker. This is a band that even through their highs and lows, they always release quality records. Cracker is sometimes just good, sometimes amazing, but always quality.
My introduction to the world of Lowery came from Cracker's 1992 album Brand, with their hit "Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now)." From there I jumped over to Camper Van Beethoven albums, obsessing over songs such as "Pictures Of Matchstick Men" and "Take The Skinheads Bowling." With a career spanning multiple decades, you'd think that Lowery would have nothing left to prove. Hit songs, critically acclaimed records, yet he has just offered up one of the finest Cracker albums to date.
The new record, Greenland, seems to be a journey of self-discovery. Kicking off with "Something You Ain't Got," we are given a fat slice of juicy Americana, with just the perfect amount of twang. Greenland really is an unusual album, with plenty of little twists and turns to keep your ears on their toes. "Maggie," the second song on the album, is Cracker's first new original tune since 2002, offering up a mid-tempo pop song that admits that he is damaged while he asks for his heart to not be broken.
The journey continues with "Where Have Those Days Gone," which is a rock road trip to California. Picking the tempo up and slathering on the angst, Lowery turns his amps up to eleven on "Gimme One More Chance." Yeah, there is plenty of rock & roll left in this band. The bass lines are big, the guitar riffs are even bigger, allowing Cracker to remind us of how great of a rock band they really are.
One of the biggest surprises comes along during "Minotaur," with spaced out guitar lines and huge dynamic changes that are more than just slightly reminiscent of Pink Floyd. If you are craving some old-school Cracker, skip down to "Everybody Gets One For Free." In an ideal world, this would be on every damn rock radio station from coast to coast. It is that good.
This is one hell of a great summertime jam. From country to blues to psych rock, Lowery crosses many musical roads on his journey through Greenland. With this new album, Cracker remains as one of the truly great American rock bands.