I’d read that Josh T Pearson’s latest release was quite different to his sporadic earlier work – that with Lift to Experience and his solo recordings – and the suggestion, as I recall, was that it was a little straighter, more conventional, not that he was ever wild, but he has been idiosyncratic, and his great album Last of the Country Gentleman was lyrically intense and expansive in its extended playing.
So I’m pleased to announce that this wonderful rock’n’roll/punkish/rockabilly album is distinctive in the JTP sense, and the best evidence is the [considering what I have already said] ironically titled Give It To Me Straight, where bending guitar twangs and a rumbustious vocal and overall performance represent the idiosyncrasies remain. And yes, the album title The Straight Hits! signal an ironic breadth when listening to the output, not least in how each song title contains the word straight. It is a lot of fun, and meant to be.
A track like Straight Laced Come Undone reminds of the unique Americana of Country Gentleman, both in its songcraft and the slightly naughty lyrics [not a patch on his live patter – see all my previous reviews here], and Damn Straight delivers a similarly signature narrative. Loved Straight to Hell reminds of Lift to Experience, and I would conclude that this is all exactly what we could expect from JTP and how delightful this is.
The Dire Straights of Love is sublime in its plaintive poetry and lamenting delivery, the spoken narrative and background chorus a wonderful oddball accessory. A Love Song (Set me Straight) is simply sweetness fully realised.