Sarah Shook & the Disarmers


BY Kerry DoolePublished Apr 2, 2018

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.

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