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A 'Brighter' Album from the Drive-By Truckers

Over the past decade, Southern roots-rockers Drive-By Truckers have developed a legacy of detailed, complex songwriting. Fronted by Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley, the band sets lyrics of struggle and pathos against backdrops of country, R&B and thick, muscular rock.

Fresh Air's rock critic says their new album, Brighter Than Creation's Dark, is one of their best-written and most enjoyable yet — a mix of Southern soul, Brit-invasion rock, and Texas honky-tonk in a time when the notion of regionalism in pop music has, except in the hip-hop crowd, all but disappeared.

Though bassist Shonna Tucker contributes a few songs sung in a honey-baked croon, it's Hood and Cooley who contribute the Class A material, often alternating songs on this 19-track album.

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Ken Tucker reviews rock, country, hip-hop and pop music for Fresh Air. He is a cultural critic who has been the editor-at-large at Entertainment Weekly, and a film critic for New York Magazine. His work has won two National Magazine Awards and two ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards. He has written book reviews for The New York Times Book Review and other publications.