Pure Luck ‘Pure Luck’ Review: alt-rock supergroup takes on deep-fried Southern Rock.
“Outlaw country mixed with Southern rock, mixed with toad licking.” That unusual descriptor comes courtesy of Butthole Surfers (and Melvins member) Jeff Pinkus, describing the sound of his Austin, TX based outfit Pure Luck.
The band (whose self-titled début is due June 2nd on Heavy Feather Records) offers a no-holds barred take on Southern Rock, with a surprisingly straightforward approach for a group full of subversive musicians (which also includes Ween drummer Claude Coleman and The Moistboyz Stephen Haas among others).
Things kick off with the rollicking Silver or Lead, a tale of a fraught trip to Mexico, punctuated by thick syrupy guitar licks and Pinkus’ granulated howl.
While the band may be titled Pure Luck, the songs feature the traditional country tropes of hard knocks and hard-drinking, be it the brooding, Broke, Soaked and Dirty or the strutting Where’s It All Go, featuring lyrics like We ain’t getting younger/time ain’t on our side.
While Pure Luck draws comparisons with The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd, there’s a rawer rough-around-the-edges approach befitting of its left-of-center lineup. Forlorn ballads No Pride and You Left The Bottle recall a less fussy Black Crowes, while injecting a touch of psychedelia to the mix.
The group go rockabilly on You Look Funny When You Cry, Happy Cow and Let Me In. The latter song is a particular standout, adding blazing dual guitar solos and ZZ-Top boogie rock to the proceedings.
My personal favorite is Cerveza, featuring dual vocal harmonies with the lilting refrain put down the guitar and play me instead. It’s a perfect mix of lovelorn Texas blues and country charm that will surely slay live (the band’s press release states tour dates are forthcoming).
The album closes with the wonderfully titled The Ballad of Haul and Ass, which sounds like it was recorded during a front-porch jam. There’s a lived-in, ramshackle quality to the track (and album) that stands out in sharp relief against modern-day country–and this is to be commended.
Pure Luck’s début is raw enough to lure in fans of Pinkus and co’s alt-rock output, while also appealing to country rock fans who’ve never heard of The Butthole Surfers. That makes Pure Luck one of the most unexpected genre-defying pleasures of 2017.