Al Lukas In My Soul

How much is too much? Is beginning a song actually with "bow-chika-bow" too much? Breaking it down for a duelling electric guitar and bass solo? A lyric like, "I'm building bridges to my dreams"? Al Lukas would answer all three of these questions with a resounding "no!" based on his latest album, In My Soul. Technically, it's obvious that Lukas is a formidable musician; his guitar is flawless and his voice has that "honey rolled in gravel" quality. But, if this album were a burger, it would be one of those 100-dollar ones with truffle oil, rare cheddar and a champagne-infused mustard that, upon eating it, one wonders at least once, "why didn't I just go to McDonald's?" The difference with Al Lukas is he's not selling himself as an expensive version of a tried-and-true standard, which is good, because it means that maybe sometimes I can scroll to him on my iPod just to revel in his ridiculous, Meatloaf-ish theatrics and not feel (terribly) guilty about it. (Independent)