Cracker: Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey

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Cracker: <em>Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey</em>

Consistently good band carries the torch of The Clash

I vividly remember the first time I heard a Cracker song on college radio. I didn’t know that David Lowery had a new band, but there was no mistaking the Camper Van Beethoven frontman’s voice when he started singing, “Happy Birthday to Me.” But instead of Eastern-influenced violins, Johnny Hickman’s blue-collar-rock guitar gave muscle to Lowery’s biting lyrics. Fifteen years later, Lowery’s voice hasn’t lost his trademark sneer and Hickman hasn’t abandoned his sweet classic-rock wankery. The songs on the ironically titled Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey have been updated to cover Fallujah, coding PERL and Kabul Gate, but the band is still doing its countrified best to carry The Clash’s torch with three power chords and a cynical take on the truth. The new album’s “Eurotrash Girl” is “Friends”—Patterson Hood duets on the honky-tonk song about the bonds between a pair of scoundrels with enough dirt on each other that they’ll always be buddies. But the most earnest moment on the record comes in its best song, “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out With Me,” Lowery’s epic ode to running away from the baggage of modern life and finding a cabin in the Adirondacks. The world may not need another folk singer, but I could always do with another set of piercing songs from a consistently good band.

Listen to Cracker's "Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out With Me" from Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey: