By Spencer Wilking
By Christina Black
By Calum Marsh
By J. Pablo
By Phillip Mlynar
By Jenna Sauers
By Brian McManus
By Elliott Sharp
Reckless Kelly's Wicked Twisted Road is as formally perfect, felt, and thought through as some touchstone of classic pop like Big Star's Radio City. And as a concept album about all the trouble you can get into on the road, it's narrated by a singer tough and capable enough to turn the tables on a blown bank robbery by taking himself "a hostage in a Delta skirt," hip enough to refer to the lucky customer service representative simply as "Delta" later on in the song, and pop savvy enough to end the tune with a chorus of harmonized "true, true love." All in six minutes of "Sixgun," which also proves Willy Braun's got a big heartit's really about his love for an equally tough woman named Sadie. Who would've figured?
Forget powerpop; Reckless Kelly one-up that whole thing in "These Tears," which is as subtly oblique as anything by Marshall Crenshaw except the drumming is better and they use fiddles. "Motel Cowboy Show," at 5:37, wastes not a second, and shifts from flat-out rock to slow drag and back quicker than you can roll one for the road. Country only by associationand the post-macho white-blues parody "Wretched Again" shakes out as not funny at all.
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