Published Oct 07, 2015Fans have come to not only expect toe-tapping hits from Corb Lund, but also sidesplitting laughs. After a slew of acclaimed albums, the Albertan alt-country star has proven highly adept at both, and one song from his new LP, Things That Can't Be Undone, answers that tall order. Dubbed "Washed-Up Rock Star Factory Blues," the tune finds Lund singing drolly about mopping up at his day job after his music career has fallen into a hot mess. It's the most fun you'll have listening to a country song this year, thanks to its hilarious lyrics and highly danceable rockabilly shuffle.
Of course, it's not all laughs; much of the rest of the record is introspective and melancholy. "S Lazy H" is a particularly good example, thanks to its tender strumming and Lund's aching singing about the death of rural culture and living off the land. "Weight of the Gun" is more musically upbeat, mainly due to its flamboyant Motown style bass line, an odd but surprisingly suitable addition to Lund's sonic arsenal courtesy of the eclectic wizardry of burgeoning Nashville producer David Cobb (Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson). That song's lyrics focus on a protagonist's vivid regrets about his outlaw lifestyle, and feature evocative lines about the burden of shame and the weight of a loaded pistol.
Those tunes have a dark undercurrent that's deeply compelling, but "Run This Town" succeeds all the more in that regard, what with its mournful waltz motif and Lund's singing about the "latitude list of the other things lost last year" as he imagines what might have been with a lover that slipped away. "Sadr City" may be the album's very best track of all, thanks to its crescendoing indie rock riff and Lund's imagery-rife lyrics about soldiers earning Purple Hearts in Iraq.
In short: his sillier hits may have made him a star, but it's thrilling and moving to hear Lund indulge his serious side on this gorgeously forlorn new LP. (New West)