Los Lonely Boys
our score: 3.5 out of 5.0
West Texas hasn't exactly been a hotbed for hip and/or popular
music. Occasionally, an artist or two will break out nationally,
but these "successes" mainly fall into the country music
genre. In fact, aside from the all-too-brief indie supernova that
was At The Drive-In, there hasn't been a single rock artist of
note to come out of West Texas this century.
All this makes
the success of Los Lonely Boys quite the anomaly. After
all, it's not everyday that a group of Hispanic brothers from
San Angelo make their way onto the pop charts. Moreover, at a
time when our musical landscape is becoming more and more lily-white,
the social importance of a group like this automatically seems
to embellish and overshadow their musical aptitude. Luckily, this
self-titled debut's smart, knowing mix of roots rock and blues
quickly extinguishes any notion that Los Lonely Boys are just
some lucky bar-band - in fact, these guys can really play.
From the gate,
the brothers Garza make their intent clear. Indeed, after the
first two songs, it become apparent that girls, religion and redemption
are the major themes of the LP - but the main star of the show
is the outstanding playing layered throughout the record. The
opening track, "Senorita", starts off with a simple
guitar lick but quickly evolves into a groove even George Clinton
would approve of. "Crazy Dreams" and "Dime Mi Amor"
are showcases for vocalist/guitarist Henry Garza's instinctive
Stevie Ray-esque guitar phrasing, while "Velvet Sky"
is saved from cliché by the Tex-Mex influenced rhythm section
of Jojo and Ringo Garza.
elements are brought together perfectly in the single "Heaven"
- quite possibly the best single of summer '04. It's lazy groove,
reflective lyrics and smooth harmonies blend seamlessly to create
what could be the Southwest's answer to "Just My Imagination"
- a rock n' soul triumph. Other notables include the Los Lobos-lite
"Nobody Else", and the lovely closer "La Contestacion",
which could fit easily onto a Café Tacuba album.
their technical skills may be, Los Lonely Boys leave you a little
wanting when it comes to the lyrics. Some verses come off a bit
cliché, and at times you feel you've heard some of these
lines before ("When I kiss your lips I can't explain/What
I feel in my heart for you"). Of course, keep in mind that
the words wouldn't be such a problem if the music wasn't so good.
Boys isn't a perfect debut - in fact, they still have a ways
to go before they hit their stride - but it's more than promising,
and judging by the recent track record of Texas bands, that's
more than enough as well.
liked Los Lonely Boys...
3. Crazy Dream
4. Dime Mi Amor
6. More Than Love
7. Nobody Else
9. Real Emotions
10. Tell Me Why
11. Velvet Sky
12. La Contestacion