Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Sep 13, 2012
    90
    It's a brave, compelling collection from an artist who continues to evolve in remarkable and unexpected ways.
  2. Sweetly skeletal arrangements featuring various bandmates and his bassist dad underpin the quietest and most winning singing of his career, with lyrics so crystalline you never need the booklet.
  3. Sep 11, 2012
    83
    Though the album is more about the lyrics than the music, damned if those lyrics aren't some of Hood's best-which is saying something, given that Hood has a command of imagery and observation as keen as any prose writer working today.
  4. Oct 22, 2012
    80
    A wonderful rumination on late nights, leaving home and self-medicating. [No.92 p.54]
  5. Sep 14, 2012
    80
    An affecting, lyrical record that makes you feel blessed for not having lived through it, but wiser, so graceful for the ride. [Oct 2012, p.74]
  6. 80
    These songs evoke images and conjure emotions that are as descriptive and riveting as any printed word.
  7. Oct 9, 2012
    78
    The post divorce rant "Better Off Without" and bittersweet Kelly Hogan duet "Come Back Little Star" about their late friend Vic Chesnutt are among the treasures here.
  8. Sep 13, 2012
    70
    Heat Lightning is the solo album as balancing act-one of its greatest accomplishments is that it gives equal attention to a destructive past without romanticizing it and a satisfying present without simplifying it.
  9. Sep 11, 2012
    70
    Fans of his [Drive-By] Truckers tunes will find much to love here.
  10. Sep 11, 2012
    70
    Even the sketches deliver an emotional gut punch.
  11. Sep 11, 2012
    65
    It's a placeholder album from a man who has already written 20 songs that are better than the ones here.
  12. Oct 24, 2012
    60
    These skeletal blues are for addicts only. [Nov 2012, p.98]
  13. Sep 19, 2012
    60
    Scratchily downbeat, this is a true artist's vision in that Hood can remove himself from the pain without stinting on the honesty. [Oct 2012, p.82]
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 4 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Sep 20, 2012
    10
    This is classic Patterson Hood. Even though it is a solo effort, it also has a definite vibe of the DBTs last two albums too. He imo is the best story teller in music right now because his words are simple and quite real and get right to the point. Patterson has such a connection with what the every day man/woman is going through and can articulate that so well in his songs. Right now this country and its people are suffering quite bad and Patterson has plenty of material to write about. I have always been a Mike Cooley guy over the years but Patterson has really shown his ability as a master songwriter in particular on his last two solo albums. I think this is a top 5 album for 2012 and Come Back Little Star might be the best song he has ever written. It is right up there with The Living Bubba. Shrimp will probably act like he likes him now too. I smell a phony creepin. Full Review »
  2. Jun 1, 2013
    8
    On the cover of ‘Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance’ the third solo album from Patterson Hood, the Drive-By Truckers singer is looking into a mirror perhaps because this album takes a reflecting look at his past. Lyrically it comes from a turbulent time just after the break-up of his first band and a marriage and just so you know what territory you are in opening track ‘12:01’ set the mood by telling tales of crossing county lines to go ‘Where the liquor laws are different’. In fact alcohol plays a big part here in the stories of relationships and situations that Hood so vividly describes, in the brutally honest ‘Betty Ford’, a standout track, he sings ‘the sun shines through the window for the fifteenth time this year, you’re lying on the concrete in the same dress that you wore to the party’. Ranging from folk to alt-rock it obviously has hints of his current band, most of them are on here, but it also brings to mind the last two albums by Richmond Fontaine ‘We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River’ and ‘The High Country’ as well as Vic Chesnutt. Kelly Hogan shares writing and vocal duties on their tribute to the late singer ‘Come Back Little Star’ with her voice sitting above Hood’s southern drawl, it works well and they use it again on ‘After The Damages’. Single note piano parts, banjo and spoken word are all utilized to great effect and of the twelve tracks here there really isn’t a weak one amongst them. What was clearly a very personal project and a catharsis of sorts could have turned out somewhat depressing given the subject matter but surprisingly it ends up a quite uplifting affair and one which rewards you with each listen. This overall feeling of light in the darkest places is down to the talent of Hood and his writing and in a much better place now he can be proud that he has made one of the albums of the year. Full Review »