Forever and ever

Forever (Back Porch)

Cracker

By Jeff Dentinger

Some things are forever ... Uncle Sam's cut of your paycheck, The Kentucky Derby and songs from the brain of David Lowrey. Case in point is Cracker's latest studio effort, aptly named Forever. From track one, there's an instant familiarity - a feeling you've been here before. Truth be told, there's nothing really "new" on Forever; it's the same Cracker you've always known.

And in some respects, it's the same Camper Van Beethoven, Lowery's previous band. Apparently he firmly believes in the theory "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." The lyrics are still quirky, the violin still likes to be heard, and Johnny Hickman's guitar licks still have the heavy-handed, yet pleasant quality Cracker has always given us.

There's a little of everything here - Cracker's typical somber songs, heavy rockers and sugary sweet and playful devotions. There's even the Cracker mainstay: an angry song for Lowery's parents ("Don't Bring Us Down"). In the what's new department, Hickman takes over for a song, singing lead on "Superfan," a speedy song that makes Kathy Bates' character in "Misery" look like a girl scout. The title track, like most of the songs here, would have easily fit well on any previous Cracker album. In a world where many things seem to change with dizzying regularity, it's nice to know that Cracker is Forever.