Sarah Shook & the Disarmers Years

Sarah Shook & the Disarmers Years
8
North Carolina-based honky-tonker Sarah Shook formed the Disarmers five years ago and made a splash with 2015 debut Sidelong. Look for more ripples to spread with this convincing sophomore album. Her voice has the downhome ring of truth, and it is perfectly framed by a mix of steel and twangy guitars.
 
The sound is unapologetically retro, but Tammy or Loretta never came up with lyrics like "I need this shit like I need another hole in the head" ("New Ways To Fail"). Then again, they didn't identify as bisexual atheists either.
 
There's something of a country-punk spirit in Shook's sound too, which sets her apart from the likes of Whitney Rose and Lindi Ortega. Embellished with crying steel, "Heartache In Hell" shows she can sell a ballad, and there's an obligatory drinking song, "The Bottle Never Lets Me Down." It is boosted by a sweet guitar solo and smart lyrics: "you won't find it running around in the darkest corners of this town."
 
There are breakup songs here too, like "Parting Words," but they're spirited, not maudlin. A charming and disarming album. (Bloodshot)