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Drive-By Truckers

Ugly Buildings, Whores, and Politicians – 2011 (New West)

Reviewed by Sara Hetland

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CDs by Drive-By Truckers

Greatest hits albums are a tricky business. If the band is thoughtful enough to have created cohesive, thematic records, a greatest hits collection only disrupts this order. As such, the release of a compilation is usually not motivated by the band's artistic desires, but instead the record company's monetary ones. "Ugly Buildings" does not feature any new or unreleased material, which makes it irrelevant to any fans who already own the band's complete discography.

But for the newbie fan, the album is careful to include a wide range of material, which is at times welcome and at other times means that their better work is overlooked in favor of diversity. The compilation could've done without Bulldozers and Dirt (lyrically silly and instrumentally dull) and the underwhelming closer World of Hurt. It's a pity that the lovely Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife and biting Women Without Whiskey weren't included instead.

But onto the good news. DBT has built up an impressive catalog by weaving together interesting guitar work and lyrics, and that's evident here. Let There Be Rock does, in fact, rock. Carl Perkin's Cadillac is as perfect as alt.-country gets. And Gravity's Gone is probably just what your mid-August road trip playlist needs. Those unfamiliar with the band's work are best off buying 2001's "Southern Rock Opera," but this greatest hits disc also isn't a bad place to start.