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Cracker, ‘Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey’ (429)

There’s a thin line between clever and annoying, but David Lowery is careful not to cross it in Cracker. (Things were dicier in Camper Van Beethoven, his previous band.) Lowery’s piercing intelligence and smartass humor click on Sunrise, his smoke-stained voice adding genuine soul to the quartet’s chunky guitar pop. “Friends,” a hilariously scuzzy duet with Drive-By Trucker Patterson Hood, wallows in redneck clichés; “Yalla Yalla (Let’s Go)” conjures ominous images of global conflict. And simply to prove he can, Lowery croons a beautiful, unironic love song called “Darling One.”