Most helpful positive review
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
The atmospheric side of Patterson Hood
on September 20, 2012
Along with Mike Cooley, Patterson Hood has crafted an iconic sound with the Drive-By Truckers, so what does he do with a solo album? Killers and Stars was basically a demo, with some lo-fi acoustic performances that hold up on the strength of the material and the conviction of his performance. Murdering Oscar sounded at times like a collection of DBT songs that didn't quite fit on other albums. On Heat Lightening, though, Patterson has done something truly different, and rewarding. The album has its roots in an autobiographical novel that Patterson started to write, but eventually it became an album, filled with the types of characters who would seem at home on a DBT album. Patterson's lyrical style is distinctive. What is different here is the sound. Like his lyrical style, Patterson's melodic signature is all over the place here, but the crunching electric guitars of the Drive-By Truckers are not. In their place, we have piano, and more acoustic instruments than the Truckers ever use. The arrangements aren't exactly mellow-- they are just restrained. There is a tension throughout the music that one does not generally expect from mid-tempo acoustic arrangements. Patterson seems to be developing another new style. Let's hope he continues to pursue it. Now, if only we can convince Cooley to start putting out some solo albums too...