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Paint Your Wagon

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    6
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The semi-Ennio Morricone touches and twangs on the band's earlier work get a little more foregrounded on the Lorries' second album, but then that had more than a little to do with the cover art and font style -- pure Old West (as filtered through TV and movies). Again, the Fields of the Nephilim may have made it more famous, but the Lorries probably had more outright fun (of a sort) with it in the end. Though that said, "Shout at the Sky" has Chris Reed sounding exactly like the Fields' Carl McCoy, which if intentional might not have been the wisest way to go. Trappings aside, Paint Your Wagon is another fine album and actually probably a better one in the end, with a bit more energy in the arrangements. Reed's guitar playing, supplemented by David Wolfenden, shows a touch more intricacy and flair this time around -- not a major leap forward but he often creates some inspired, epic, work, as on "Last Train" or the slow grind conclusion "Blitz." "Head All Fire" and "Save My Soul" are sharp examples of how Reed and company can rework what were already established approaches into something new and thrilling. "Which Side" goes that step even a bit further thanks to the use of the old "which side are you on" trope -- Billy Bragg did it one way, Reed aims for something a bit more in his echoed milieu. Even some of the semi-filler tracks like the instrumental "Mescal Dance" have enough spikiness to carry the day.

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