[11 May 2010]
Eventually it becomes okay to like grown-up music, and when you hit that point, it’s useful to have something like Doug Keith’s second album The Lucky Ones handy. Working with a poppier version of a singer-songwriter or even Americana feel, Keith shows the strength of mature lyrics. The record contains a number of mid-tempo numbers with similar orchestration, but Keith varies the feel enough that the disc never feels repetitive. “Maria del Bosco” (which references the play) rocks it up a bit more, providing more focus on Keith’s guitar playing. The other tracks find ways to offer hope in moody contexts or to take a reasonable approach to life’s challenges (as in “The Lowest Low”, where the suggestion to resist fighting the very worst speaks more from wisdom than from cynicism). “Don’t Let Your Darkness Overtake You” could almost be a more musical Daniel Johnston number. By the time we get to “Just the Coming Home”, the album’s formal closure feels complete, and the group vocals add a lift. Keith has gotten right by staying even-keeled, and the smart lyrics and steady music combine for a surprisingly good listen.