Tractor Kings Gone to Heaven

The Tractor King’s Gone to Heaven is one of those records that has felt like a lost classic from the moment it was first pressed. The album plays like a forgotten Steve Earle demo tape that was recorded while he was hung out on scag and free of inhibition. Each song chooses mood over proficiency, giving the tracks a loose and fragile feeling. This is accentuated by the lyrics that articulate a separate problem on each track while never losing sight of a central sadness that rules the album’s emotion. It’s this sadness that gives the disc its depth. The band’s crossing of Flaming Lips and Meat Puppets influences with their loosely woven country/folk style gives this feeling a perfect casing. So, despite having a name that would be better suited to a Kim Mitchell cover band, the Tractor Kings display a cross of songwriting proficiency and stark reality that make Gone to Heaven a truly vital album. (Mud)