Cracker – Kerosene Hat

“Let’s get off this/And get on with it/If you wanna change the world/Shut your mouth and start this minute” I love those lyrics.  I love this album.  Fresh off its 30th anniversary, Kerosene Hat  was a Top 5 most listened to album for me in 2023.  But let’s get back to those “Get Off This” lyrics.  They perfectly distill achievement.  We bloviate too much, we think we need to read one more book, we constantly search for the answers, we can’t find the inspiration, we are inherently lazy, we don’t know what we want…..I DON’T CARE.  JUST GET STARTED!  You don’t have to change the world, but you can if you want to!

Kerosene Hat was pretty lucky to see airplay.  It rode the coattails of grunge and found the backdoor into the mainstream.  Shit albums like Nirvana’s In Utero were riding high in 1993, but we got lucky because it gave opportunity to Alternative Music.  Bands that could meld their indie/alt country/rock into an actual genre.  That same year saw amazing albums like Morphine’s Cure for Pain, Breeders The Last Splash, Uncle Tupelo Anodyne, Slowdive Souvlaki, James Laid, Afghan Whigs Gentlemen…and the list goes on.  The point being that I knock Nirvana and grunge alot, but I probably never would have had the opportunity to find so many eclectic bands I loved then and now without Nirvana’s force on the industry and inspiration of future generations.

Cracker was formed when Camper Van Beethoven split.  CVB is a pretty good artsy/indie band.  They have their pocket of very devoted fans.  David Lowery formed Cracker and developed a sound that’s more roots rock with some alt country elements.  This new sound allowed for a little more focus on lyrics and messaging.  There are some very simplistic arrangements on tracks not seen with CVB that allow for some beautiful, profound ballads.  I had been listening to alot of Sparklehorse last year.  Lowery wrote “Sick of Goodbyes” with the late, great Mark Linkous. Just one of the standout ballads.  However, I don’t think the “artsy” guitars are completely sacrificed as there are some wonderful wires throughout the album.   But yes, there are infectious pop rock “crackers” everywhere on this record.  “Low” was the lead single and it was huge.  However, we also got “Get Off This” “Sweet Potato” and “Euro Trash Girl” Kerosene Hat is a fantastic album that should’ve been bigger than it was. 

I toyed all year with adding Cracker to the Hogs 2024 line-up but I haven’t done the “Deep Nostalgia” slot that people seem to negatively brand festivals producers with.  My first piece of musical advice in the festival biz was “don’t book bands you want to see.  Book bands everyone wants to see.”  Easier said than done.  But this is an album I wish everyone would listen to.

But back to “Get Off This!”  Paralysis by analysis.  What do YOU believe in??? Get on with it.  Start this minute!  The illuminating are watching.

Favorite Tracks: “Low” “Get Off This” “Kerosene Hat” “Sweet Potato” “Sick of Goodbyes” “Eurotrash Girl”

Pressing: Music On Vinyl. MOVLP2091.  25th Anniversary.  2013.