I’ve been smitten by Chicago’s Tobacco City for the past couple of years and it feels good to have their debut record on the horizon. The band captures a kind of hazy afternoon feelings that get deep under the skin. With the natural chemistry of Gram and Emmy Lou, Lexi Goddard and Chris Coleslaw volley their vocals back and forth with the heavy heart of a night out gone astray. With a bedrock of cosmic country beneath them the pair swing between dancefloor fillers that take the temperature in the room up a notch and last call comedowns that disappear out the door with the sweat vapors. The band excels at finding the balance between euphoria and collapse as evidenced by standout single “You Were Never On My Mind,” “Half in the Bag,” and the summer swelter of the opener, “Blue Raspberry.”
Yet, don’t count them out when the tempos tip towards a bit of bluster. The dive bar burner “AA Blues” and the slow burn ache of “Neon Lights” meld the No Depression sneer with the kind of jukebox classics that never leave the racks. The balance between third wind and half-mast melt play out over the painfully short collection of tracks, and underneath all their tangents burns a psychedelic impulse that glows with the Cosmic Country neon flicker. It rears its head on the plainly titled “LSD,” swimming into view like an oasis in deep desert heat, and they keep the dehydration shimmer on the closer, “Brother” as well. Few debuts leave the listener as satisfied and wanting as much as Tobacco City, USA. The record soaks the soul, but somehow still leaves a thirst for just one more track itching in the listener, garnering replay after replay as soon as the last notes escape the speakers.
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