English Oceans

Drive-By Truckers - English Oceans
Critic Score
Based on 18 reviews
2014 Ratings: #353 / 845
User Score
Based on 29 ratings
2014 Ratings: #340
March 4, 2014 / Release Date
LP / Format
ATO / Label
Country Rock / Genres
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English Oceans is a triumph for the Drive-By Truckers, one that capitalizes on Hood and Cooley’s strengths as songwriters and also gives them something to sing for that means more than all those colorful characters put together.


The Drive-By Truckers are still capable of mixing things up and showing off new sides of their skill set, and that's certainly the case with English Oceans, which shows them making wise use of all their talents -- not just Mike Cooley.

Tiny Mix Tapes

English Oceans is more or less what you would expect, and that’s pretty much a good thing. 


English Oceans is a typically strong album from Drive-By Truckers. It doesn’t touch the band’s early 00’s run of Southern Rock Opera, Decoration Day and The Dirty South, but it’s nice to hear Cooley fully embracing his status as co-leader of the band. 


This is Southern rock with a brain, featuring well-etched characters and imaginative lyrics framed by fluent guitars, subtle keyboard touches, and the crisp production of long-time collaborator David Barbe.

American Songwriter

English Oceans is a meat-and-potatoes rock and roll record, rawer and rougher than anything since Alabama Ass Whuppin’, and its leanness highlights the band’s strengths while amplifying a few lingering weaknesses.

Consequence of Sound

But the instrumentation and mixing don’t often match the bold storytelling, which is strange since English Oceans feels like the most Rock (with a seriously capital “R”) LP that the Truckers have put out since The Dirty South.


Cooley’s superlative performance on English Oceans would be more worthy of celebration if it wasn’t negated by Hood’s most non-committal songwriting to date.


Basically, this is the sound of a band happy to be coasting, which can be a chore to listen to.


Few bands at the same point of their career can boast that they’re still working on their highest level, and with ’English Oceans’ the band cement themselves as one of the best and consistent alt. country acts of the ’00s - and there’s no sign of them slowing down.


Meticulous and ephemeral, English Oceans recalls Isbell's 2013 critically acclaimed solo album Southeastern, a solid and stolid collection of sketches that didn't turn into watercolors, of homilies whose guitar tunings were as private as prayers. 

Southern rock mixed with pop just makes me want to gag up the cucumber water ive been drinking today. Even when one track brings interest back ("When He's Gone"), the next track brings you right back to cringing.
Nearly fifteen years later the nu-legends of southern boogie sound moreover the same.
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Year End Lists

#21/Slant Magazine
#49/American Songwriter


#17/Paste (First Half)

Track List

  1. Shit Shots Count
  2. When He's Gone
  3. Primer Coat
  4. Pauline Hawkins
  5. Made Up English Oceans
  6. The Part of Him
  7. Hearing Jimmy Loud
  8. Til He's Dead or Rising
  9. Hanging On
  10. Natural Light
  11. When Walter Went Crazy
  12. First Air of Autumn
  13. Grand Canyon
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thisisabtlgrnd, patton, erik

Added on: December 3, 2013