LOCASH, “Brothers” (Wheelhouse Records/BBR Music Group)
If there’s a such a thing as Bingo for country song references, go ahead and spin the latest LOCASH album and brace yourself. You’ll get a whole lot of trucks, beer, jeans, dogs, back roads, mom’s cooking, God and weekend parties. And that’s just the first few tunes.
The vocalist duo of Chris Lucas and Preston Brust may seem comfortable around lyrical cliches but thank goodness they know a good tune, too, because “Brothers” is a bro-country hoot, filled with catchy, poppy tunes that fizz like a just-opened Bud. In fact, two are ready-made for brewski commercials — “Cold Beer Kinda Night” and “Beers to Catch Up On.”
What’s really refreshing is that it’s clear everyone’s invited. Right out of the gate is “One Big Country Song,” which opens its arms wide, something some country songs don’t. “A city boy, a country boy, yeah we all just tryna survive,” the lyrics go. “Everybody’s got holes in their blue jeans/If you bought ’em that way or not.” This is welcome-all party country, not afraid to add dashes of rock, dance, pop or some guitar solos.
The bulk of the 11-track “Brothers” is produced by Lindsay Rimes, who has worked with such artists as Kane Brown, Thomas Rhett and Dylan Scott. The songwriters include Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson, Ashley Gorley, Jesse Frasure, Corey Crowder, Jordan Schmidt and Chris DeStefano.
Lucas and Brust contribute songwriting to three songs — the really nice title track, the throwaway “Feels Like a Party” and the first-class rocker “Secret Weapon.” A sunny, optimistic tone runs through the album, reaching a high with “Summer in a Truck,” an infectious ode to curly fries and wearing no shoes. You can try and hate on it but that’s like hating on a Lab puppy.
The duo get religious in “God Thing” — but always grateful and in awe; they’re not the hellfire kind — and are heartfelt in the album’s outstanding power ballad “Kissing a Girl,” a superb bit of song-crafting that traces a romance from a “couple kids playing grown-ups” to being a daddy.
It’s a deeply moving tune but LOCASH don’t dwell on it. The album closes where it began — with friends, alcohol and an embrace of good will on “Beers to Catch up On.”
MARK KENNEDY, AP Entertainment Writer