Cracker | Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey (429)

cd_cracker.jpgThe strong influences of late-1970s and early-1980s punk fringe shows a strong presence in several of the tracks.







Since their 1992 debut full length, Cracker Brand, this alt-rock four piece outfit has undergone manifestations in different genres and on different labels. However, this month’s release, Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey, brings back a sound that largely has disappeared from modern rock and is rarely reincarnated. This is not to say that the tracks on the new release don’t offer variety—not in the least, as a matter of fact. The strong influences of late-1970s and early-1980s punk fringe shows a strong presence in several of the 11 tracks, however, elements of pop rock shine through in tracks such as "Turn On Tune In Drop Out With Me." The album is divided in two by the middle track, "Friends," which stands by itself on the collection as an example of the band’s off-brand country influences.

One of the things that becomes more apparent with their new album than previous ones is Cracker’s sharply defined social commentary, permeating from military culture and bravado in the opening track, "Yalla Yalla," to the music industry and its correlated culture in "Hey Brett, You Know What Time It Is," and notions regarding counterculture kids and how soft they’ve become since the early 1980s in "Time Machine."

The final, title track exemplifies frontman David Lowery’s penchant for digging deeper to a brutal honesty about the illusion of America’s affluence and seeming wealth. When the sun rises on this land, it only exposes that the image of our prominence is built on corruption, greed, moral decay and the suffering of others as well as ourselves.

Cracker’s return from a three-year studio hiatus provides a collection of hard-edged tracks that expose their socially opinionated humanity, augmented by pieces that transcend the alt-rock genre. Sharp witted and seasoned in a music scene where very little newness is left, they have managed to posit an original collection of thoughts and sounds that surprises and inspires. A | Jason Neubauer

RIYL: The Pixies, Camper Van Beethoven, Dinosaur Jr.

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