Chewing Wild Oats on the Farm

Darius Rucker proves that inoffensiveness still has its heartland place

Now that his old VH1 compatriot Rob Thomas has traded the namby-pamby roots-pop with which he once conquered every sports bar in America for a sexed-up disco-rock useful for seducing daughters of Mick Jagger, it's up to Darius Rucker to prove there's still an appetite for inoffensive heartland aphorisms set to handsome, tuneful chunk-strum. (Actually, considering his 2002 neo-soul solo disc and the arty, sexed-up Burger King spot he starred in earlier this year—as a bejeweled rodeo singer under the direction of glam-king photog David LaChapelle—Rucker has to prove that predigested oatmeal is still his bag too.)

Not to worry: Looking for Lucky, the first album of new Blowfish material since last year's Atlantic-era best-of, is as familiar and reassuring as a rerun of Best Week Ever. Inevitably, Rucker and his bandmates don't sound as major league as they used to, but that's not necessarily a handicap. There's a hard-won farm team warmth to the accurately titled "Waltz Into Me" and "Leaving," about Rucker standing near the ocean in his birthday suit (an image even LaChapelle might resist). As the singer observes in "State Your Peace," "It's like driving down the middle of the road with no hands on the wheel."


Still chewing their not-so-wild oats
photo: Mark Tucker
Still chewing their not-so-wild oats

Details

Hootie & the Blowfish
Looking for Lucky
Sneaky Long/Vanguard
Stream " Get Out of My Mind"
Stream "Can I See You" (Windows Media)

See also:

  • Podcast: An Audio Guide to This Week in Music
    NEW! Clubrat Special by Robert Christgau
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