Lil' Cap'n Travis

Lonesome and Losin'

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Although everything about this band, from the album artwork to the song titles, would seem to forecast them to be one of the endlessly mediocre roots rock/rockabilly/alternative country knockoffs that litter the Americana spectrum, Lil' Cap'n Travis do the unexpected by releasing an altogether outstanding throwback country-rock record with Lonesome and Losin'. Rowdy and ragged, like the best of Neil Young's more off-the-cuff country-influenced work, the band snaps through a sprawling song cycle that revels in the tired clich├ęs of drinking and cheating and yet finds something vaguely interesting, if not entirely new. Apparently a communal recording experience, the band members croak and slur through the songs in one hazy chorus, with equal measures of tear-stained pedal steel and crunchy guitar growl in tow. Further, the songwriting never becomes redundant, and the arrangements feature consummate musicianship with a healthy dose of textural and thematic diversity for good measure. To be sure, it has all been done before (if not to death), but it's fair to say that no one since Wilco who traded their telecasters for Moog synths have provided such excellent barroom country as that found here.