With a loyal fan base established through years of relentless touring, Lucero is in a position where they could easily maintain the norm and continue to thrive. The band, however, doesn’t seem content resting on their laurels, as their upcoming release “Women & Work” finds them continuing to evolve, yet holding on to what makes their band unique. Those originally drawn in by the band’s country-rock sound with gritty guitars and Ben Nichols’ raspy vocals will still find what they’re looking for on this album, the bands ninth release. However, Lucero seems to have fully embraced their Western Tennessee roots by tossing some slick Memphis sounds into the mix.
Employing horns on nearly every track for “Women & Work,” Lucero draws heavily on the sounds from days gone by with tracks “On My Way Downtown” and “Juniper,” reminiscent of Memphis forefathers like Big Star, while those in search of a more traditional Lucero sound will still find satisfaction in tracks like “Sometimes” and “When I Was Young,” as the band proves they haven’t lost touch with the minor keys and twangy guitars that have long defined their sound. The tracks “Who You Waiting On” and “Like Lightning” ooze soul without coming off as soft, with the former providing an interesting mix of southern rock and power-pop, and the latter being driven by a piano hook that sounds as if it came straight from a prohibition-era barroom.
With the new album comes some new sounds, but with “Women & Work,” Lucero proves that evolving doesn’t have to mean forsaking the past.
Look for “Women & Work” to be released on March 13th, but don’t wait to hear it. Rolling Stone is offering an exclusive stream to hold you over until then.