In what marks a significant departure from their two previous albums, the band told me that much of the writing of this album centered around living in a post-Trump and post-Brexit world. The change works for the Picnics for a number of reasons. For one, the change in direction suits the band well given their various affinities to Americana and country music.
Secondly, the approach doesn’t overwhelm, acting more as window dressing than as the focal point of the album.
The album’s title track reflects this perfectly with the sampling of rioters police sirens implicitly establishing the themes of freedom and civil unrest. These themes, they’re always in the back of your mind. This is only a good thing in terms of the music as tracks such as When I Lay My Vengeance Down and What Came Over Me are just allowed to be country tracks, unburdened by the need to make a political stance.
This is not to say that the album doesn’t try and stick it to those in power as tracks such as tracks like Bad Bad Man and We Won’t Take This Anymore making interesting statements without outstaying their welcome.
Overall, No Country for Young Men is a well thought-out and versatile effort from Picnic Area which definitively shows promising signs from the often overlooked country scene. Its not going to be to everyone’s taste and it could be one for the brave among you but its still definitely worth a listen.