Thursday, December 29, 2011

Album Review: Gringo Star - Count Yer Lucky Stars

When it comes to Gringo Star, I came for the name but stayed for the tunes. After the Kinksian clamor and Woggles-influenced racket of their delightful All Y'All record, I was all sorts of ready for more. Thankfully, los Gringos don't disappoint with this latest endeavor, and I'm happy to report that Count Yer Lucky Stars is another smoky, jangly romp from the ATL's favorite Brit Invasion acolytes.

One of the best things about Gringo Star is their obvious need to have a good time, and their desire that others should share in this good time is clear, especially when you have the good fortune to see the band live. There's plenty about Count Yer Lucky Stars to encourage les bon temps to get their roll on, as it happens. "You Want It" is damn near one of the catchiest, most irresistible ditties I've heard all year, with the jangle building and crashing into just over two minutes of vibrant, rakish irrepressibility.

The band steps a bit outside their penchant for rejigging those Kinks and Zombies sounds of the early 60s quite often on Count Yer Lucky Stars, a move that usually ends rather well on this here record. Much as when the Beatles discovered psychedelic drugs, the Gringos too have expanded and grown their sound, at times into cloudy, kaleidoscopic swirls built on the more traditional noises they've trended towards. Opening track "Shadow" feels almost slow-motion at times, and adds a softer, whiter shade of pale to their 60s racket. "Esmerelda" dances its way into Walkmen territory (a slower "Louisiana," perhaps), drenched in the strains of a last sad, seductive tango.

It's a step in the right evolutionary direction, surely, but in the end, what the boys do best is taking up the mantle for catchy as hell, well-played rock. "Beatnik Angel Georgie" could very well sit right alongside "Victoria" on Arthur and sound not a note out of place, in my humble opinion, with its' Davies-ian guitar and slightly sarcastic vocal delivery. "Jessica" is full of the staccato, so very danceable rhythms the Gringos are quickly making their own. They nod and sassily wink to the 60s at every turn, but this is unmistakably a Gringo Star moment.

Count Yer Lucky Stars is full of good time songs made by good time gents for good time guys and gals. And as a good time gal, I certainly appreciate the effort. Friends, get your mitts on this here record and have yourselves a dang good time.

mp3: Shadow (Gringo Star from Count Yer Lucky Stars)

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