Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Drive-By Truckers: Brighter Than Creation's Dark [New West, 2008]
OK, 19 songs, gotta be filler here somewhere, and there is, only it isn't melodic--with all music credited to the band, Shonna Tucker's muzzier lyrics and Mike Cooley's more elusive ones sound as well-turned as those of Patterson Hood, who's never written better. In Hood's songs, an opening act, an alcoholic, a crankhead, a heroic suicide, a heroic survivor and two different soldiers in Iraq fall between an opener where heaven is Saturday morning with your wife and kids and a closer that contemplates "the ironic nature of history." Cooley remains the lowlife specialist, most warmly with lost party girl Lisa and hometown gay guy Bob. Some complain "Bob" is the corniest country song they ever wrote. That's the point--one of several. A