Okay, now I’m confused: Has the current trend changed, or is it just the verb tense?
In my last LoCash review, I questioned whether or not the forgettable “One Big Country Song” would “have enough oomph to earn the duo a continue before they run out of extra lives.” The duo got lucky, however, and the song #2 peak earned Chris Lucas and Preston Brust a stay of execution and the right to release a third single from their album Brothers. That single turned out to be “Beers To Catch Up On,” which combined with Florida Georgia Line’s new abomination “Long Live,” makes me wonder if the Cobronavirus trend has actually receded or just adjusted to its new reality. With nihilistic partying falling out of fashion, songs like this are flipping to the next best thing: Dreaming about the partying they did in the past and hoping to recreate such events in the future. Unfortunately, talking about such things in the past and future is no more endearing or interesting than it was in the present, and the song winds up being more boring than nostalgic.
The production here suffers from the same problem as that of “Long Live”: It’s just a watered down version of a standard Bro-Country mix that doesn’t work as anything but a sleep aid. The song opens with an acoustic guitar and a clap track, then slowly fills up the background with electric guitars and organs that mostly run together (there are some steel-guitar-esque sounds as well, but it’s hard to tell if they’re actually from a steel guitar or just another electric axe), and that’s pretty much all you get. The instrument tones are dark and reflective, and the regular minor chords help emphasize the disappointment that the shenanigans aren’t still going on, but most of all the slow, deliberate cadence and lower volume levels make the song just as punchless and lifeless as “Long Live.” It’s a mix that try to make you lament the loss of times that aren’t worth mourning, but only succeeds in curing your insomnia.
The good news is that I think I know who the lead singer of this duo is now: Based on a cursory video/audio analysis that took at least three minutes, it looks like Brust is handling the lead vocals here (his voice reminds me of Granger Smith, which isn’t exactly a flattering comparison). He covers the song’s minimal technical demands without any trouble, but he’s severely lacking in the charisma department: Not only does he fail to sell the listener on the appeal of small-town pleasure-seeking, he doesn’t even make these activities sound like fun. He claims to be excited about spending some time with his old crew, but he sure as heck doesn’t sound excited. (For his part, Preston does his best Brian Kelley impression, contributing some indistinguishable harmony work that doesn’t add a ton to the track.) It’s a mediocre performance that passes in one ear and out the other without the listener ever noticing that it was there.
Lyrically, the song makes me think a lot about an album cut from Midland’s On The Rocks, “Nothing New Under The Neon,” as both feature the narrator meeting up with someone (eventually a whole bunch of someones in this track) and reminiscing about the good ol’ days. So why do think “Nothing New Under The Neon” might be the best track from On The Rocks and this song is so underwhelming? The short answer is that “Nothing New Under The Neon” has a sense of both maturity and trauma that this track lacks. Instead of talking about lost loves and family members, “Beers To Catch Up On” is just a laundry list of Bro tropes in disguise: “Trucks, longneck bottles, dirt roads, classic artist name-drops, Friday-night all-night parties”…you know, the same generic stuff I roasted “Long Live” for just a few days ago. While it’s not a 1-to-1 copy (they talk SUVs instead of pickups, and this song talks about fishing instead of women), it still comes across as incredibly juvenile and suggests that the narrator hasn’t moved on from the moment (especially with its proposal to go beyond remembering the activities and repeat them instead). As a result, it makes the narrator feel less sympathetic than they should: Oh, you can’t go drink yourself silly anymore? Here, let me play you a tune on the world’s smallest violin. (That line saying “it ain’t far from yesterday” feels especially delusional: We’re light years from last March, let alone the narrator’s glory days.) In short, this is a poorly-written mess that fails to sell its premise to the audience, and is not something I’m keen on hearing on the radio.
“Beers To Catch Up On” is a maudlin, uninteresting track that tries to mash the Cobronavirus trend with some garden-variety nostalgia, and winds up falling flat on its face. Its lackluster production barely registers a pulse, its writing reeks of immaturity , and while LoCash is present, they’re not terribly persuasive. The truth is that a) Bro Country had its moment, b) that moment is not now, and c) people would prefer to move past it rather than relive it. Where that leaves LoCash remains to be seen, but if they don’t improve their schtick, reminiscing about the career they used to have will be all they have left.
Rating: 4/10. Pass.