As an outlaw country disk jockey, fast-talking,y’all-ing Elizabeth Cook has a way with words and so it moves on her new record, “Aftermath.”
The name is a reference to bleach, as well as the group is heavily autobiographical, which might be why Cook is dressed just like Evel Knievel’s sister around the pay. She sings marrying poorly, tequila without sorrow, and Southern pride and pain, or as a single lyric put it, “stories that will hurt .”
The record lacks the large hilarity of her Sirius XM series, however, there are flashes of humor, like if she tickles watchin’ with debauchin’. And the album may set a list for references to different musicians, from George Jones and Elton John to Carole King and Kevin Kinney.
Regrettably, Cook’s vocals tend to be double-tracked or digitized in a way that distracts from the words. The record was produced by Butch Walker (Fall Out Boy, Weezer, Avril Lavigne), and he guides Cook pop terrain, together with synth washes rather than guitar. It is an uncomfortable fit, and as the record progresses Cook’s twang requires over.
Accompanying herself on the final cut,” Mary, The Submission Years,” Cook masterfully pays tribute to the late John Prine because she appears at the best story ever told in the mother’s point of view — an outlaw honoring outlaws.