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The unpredictable Texan’s first album in seven years begins by slamming out an unprecedentedly upbeat, cocksure rocker with motormouthed declarations of his invincible sprint to a musical Mount Olympus. “Straight to the Top!” recalling twang-punk architects Jason & the Scorchers, stands as one of three brilliant songs on the Lift to Experience frontman’s sophomore solo release, which could be seen as a back-to-basics effort.
That’s if the Limestone County resident had ever been – or ever could be – basic.
Gone is the quavering slow-folk of 2011’s Last of the Country Gentlemen. Now Pearson’s baritone drawl jumps like a frog, occasionally exuding a campy gooberness. For yuks, cue up barroom anthem “Give It to Me Straight.”
Renowned for wrestling the divine and profane on Lift’s masterwork The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads, Pearson now serenades the heavy concept of love – with varying quality. The seductive “Straight Laced Come Undone” is a horny dud, but drum-machine transport “A Love Song (Set Me Straight)” deftly communicates the vise-grips of amore. The musically dense “Loved Straight to Hell” so beautifully captures the magic of Lift that you can envision a Leslie speaker with a cow skull on it.