While Cracker's 1996 album "The Golden Age" may have alienated a few of their fans with its string sections and breathy ballads, "Gentleman's Blues" is a return to the strange, country-tinged rock for which the band was previously known. The sprawling, revival-style blues and punkish rock that the band displayed on 1993's "Kerosene Hat" are in abundance here, as well as gospel-tinged, Southern rock tunes that sound like "Beggar's Banquet"-era Stones.
Lots of the material on "Gentleman's Blues" concerns the trappings of musical stardom. "Seven Days," "My Life is Totally Boring Without You," "Star" and "The Good Life" are all self-mocking songs about the empty promises of the music business. But Cracker can entertain in almost any style -- backwoods stomps, twisted lullabies, even woozy circus tunes. The fans who may have abandoned Cracker are missing out on the band's best record yet.