Truckstop Honeymoon’s fourth album since its post-Katrina relocation to the bleached Kansas prairies is more of a New Orleans record than anything the husband-and-wife couple of Mike West and Katie Euliss ever did during their Crescent City residency. Nearly all of the arrangements feature a horn section steeped in trad jazz—an odd but welcomed juxtaposition for an otherwise acoustic duo, but suitable for the themes at hand. An insatiable yearning for New Orleans permeates the proceedings, but there’s also an acceptance of the couple’s adopted Sunflower State, even with West’s feelings of cultural incompatibility (“Steamboat in a Cornfield”). Euliss acknowledges acceptance best on “Corn Maze” when she states she’s more comfortable with a group of farmers than her previous crowd of city hipsters.
As with any Truckstop Honeymoon record, there are always examples of hilarious yet brilliant creativity. “She Wants to Be French” is the best of this lot. The protagonist’s paramour is now all things French, but with limited language knowledge, she can’t even translate the back of a pizza box. “Play Along” addresses the game of saying one thing and meaning another, while the klezmer-tinged “Your Mother Is a Sociopath” is really about feeling obligated to fit into certain social situations.
West and Euliss may seem like demented jokesters, but when it comes to uncovering life situations that aren’t always obvious to the ordinary eye, they’re masters.