Goodnight Loving

Crooked Lake

by Barry Lenser

28 November 2007


Milwaukee’s Goodnight Loving spin disheveled pop gold out of Americana clichés. On their rousing sophomore effort Crooked Lake, this sextet of countrified rockers dabble in whiskey-loaded introspection, witness Biblical visions of the rapture, and fret a lover’s superior social standing. “Purple Death (Theft)”, a precious sing-a-long eulogy, even features a crackling fire as the backdrop. Goodnight Loving’s métier is unabashedly geared toward rustic aesthetics. Yet their genre reach goes beyond Gram Parsons-scented country. Garage rock, snappy bluegrass, and hints of early ‘60s pop enter the fray, complementing the populist appeal of Crooked Lake with hipness. On “Train Hopping Man”, the raucous vocals (helmed by one of several singers who aren’t credited anywhere for their work) recall Pelle Almqvist’s spirited channeling of Mick Jagger. The ghosts of yesteryear pop kings, like Dion DiMucci, waft through “The Land of 1000 Bars” and the earnest “Money to Plaster”, which boasts the album’s finest melody and exemplifies its uniformly rag-tag production. The heart of Goodnight Loving, though, rests at the junction point between country and rock. Here dwell the likes of “Pink Tombstones” and “Join the Order”, where the norm is to ponder a darkened landscape or issue ostensible pitches for organized labor. Old-hat? Certainly. But, at an economical 33 minutes, Crooked Lake is short enough to keep its clichés fetching.

Crooked Lake



We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.


//Mixed media

20 Questions: Nashville Singer-Songwriter Natalie Hemby

// Sound Affects

"Natalie Hemby's Puxico is a standout debut from a songwriter who has been behind the scenes for over a decade.

READ the article