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Cooking Vinyl Records

Cracker is the more mainstream, Americana side of David Lowery, who also fronts alternative pioneers Camper Van Beethoven. Greenland is a CD that is all over the map sonically, and covers extended green lands of musical horizons. Nevertheless, Lowery's distinctively cynical vocalizing is easily recognizable, no matter the locale.

One picks up on an overriding sense of regret running through Lowery's lyrics this time out, exemplified by the title alone to "Where Have Those Days Gone." He may be regretful, but that doesn't mean he's not also backhandidly funny, however. "Where Have Those Days Gone" also contains the line: "Headed up the coast with my only Jewish Mexican friend," which makes sense; Lowery likely has quite the collection of colorful cronies. But not everybody is looking out for Lowery's best interests, apparently. Lowery questions the value of his current young comrades via "I Need Better Friends" where he complains about "hanging out with folks just half my age." But that's not the only place where Lowery engages in a little self-analysis. For example, it is hard for most people to realize - especially right at the time it's happening - that life is good. This human flaw is discussed at length during "Something You Ain't Got." "And it's hard to tell what it is and what it's not/Until it is something that you ain't got."

Musically, Cracker is one crack band. It can do country, which is how the opener "Something You Ain't Got" rolls, whereas further on down the line, "The Riverside" is propelled by loud, electric guitar. And almost out of nowhere, a progressive keyboard thing pops up during "I Need Better Friends." Now, where did that come from?

I'm not sure what the name of this CD, Greenland, has to do with anything. I do know that nearby Iceland is fairly green, whereas Greenland is rather icy. Lowery may be trying to tell us that you cannot always judge a thing by the way it's named - it might, in fact, be the exact opposite of what its name implies. But whatever the case, I'm sure this title is meant to reflect Lowery's consistently contrary nature, which is something you probably either love or hate about the man.

And even if you do happen to hate Lowery - and shame on you if you do! - it's difficult not to still respect him. He's matured into a colorful songwriter; one that consistently reflects his equally colorful character.

- Dan MacIntosh

Track Listing:
1. Something You Ain't Got
2. Maggie Lowery
3. Where Have Those Days Gone
4. Fluffy Lucy
5. The Riverside
6. Gimme One More Chance
7. I'm So Glad She Ain't Never Coming Back
8. Sidi Ifni
9. I Need Better Friends
10. Minotaur
11. Night Falls
12. Better Times Are Coming Our Way
13. Everybody Gets One for Free
14. Darling We're Out of Time

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