By: Brian Gearing
The Southern Gothic is alive and well in five-bedroom McMansions, as well as glued-shut doublewides, and though it's been a while since Athens, GA vets Drivin' n' Cryin' contributed a verse to the great Dixie mythology, The Great American Bubble Factory puts them right back where they were 15 years ago. In the heart of every suburban Southerner lives a lonely teenager with fifteen bucks and a suitcase standing on an empty dirt road, and Drivin' n' Cryin's eighth release sings his song as loud and proud as anything they've ever released.
If they're a little rusty since their 1997 self-titled release, "Detroit Rock City" shakes off the cobwebs and reveals a band more cocksure and earnestly young-at-heart than ever, finding salvation from their lonely roadside desperation in the Stooges and the MC5. "Pick up a guitar. It's the American way," wails Kevn Kinney on "I Stand Tall," an homage to the rock and roll dreams that sustain us through the misery of the landlocked adolescence of "Midwestern Blues," which showcases the band's Byrds-y southern pop sound. "Don't You Know That I Know That You Know" and "Let Me Down" also extend the sound of Kinney's ten-year East Village songwriter hiatus, but aside from "Preapproved, Predenied," which turns a kitschy phrase into a clever folk tune, they flip folk on its head and save it for the electric guitars.
Much like Sun-Tangled Angel Revival, Kinney's most recent solo album, Bubble Factory surveys American life, and on the title track, over soaring guitars and punchy horns, asks as common-sensically as Godfather Guthrie might have, "If you can make it here, why don't you make it here?" The answer is all too clear, and the sweet nostalgia of "I See Georgia" (which could easily reference several DnC's "classics") is tempered by the bitter realization that those Great American Factories may never open again. Ten years later, Drivin' n' Cryin' finds the only thing left to do is rock, and with scorchers like "Get Around Kid" and "Trainwreck," prove that that may be the one job left that corporate America can't send overseas.
JamBase | Homegrown
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