Release Date: Aug 26, 2016
Record label: Nevado Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Garage Rock Revival
Garage rock is an inherently limited style, one that increasingly runs the risk of treading water as the decades roll on. The building blocks of lo-fi vocals, jittery drums, and distorted guitars can only be pushed so far to make a sound that’s still fresh and intriguing. For a band working among these sub-genre trappings, there’s the labor of having to somehow set yourself apart from the indistinguishable deluge surrounding you.
Some bands curate an intentionally old-school sound, while others take that sound and make it fit right in with today’s world. Indie rockers Gringo Star describe themselves as “insouciant explorers,” and their sound bears that out, digging through the past for inspiration. That tendency continues, the Atlanta outfit fusing classic rock touchstones with modern indie and garage rock on their latest, The Sides and in Between.
The Atlanta-based psych-rockers' fourth studio long-player and first for Nevado Music, Sides and in Between crackles with vintage tube-driven distortion, needle-in-the-red vocals, and enough syrupy melodies to satisfy even the most ardent, paisley-clad, crate-digging vinyl fanatic. Breezy, slightly skewed, and country-fied Laurel Canyon psych-pop dominates about half of the ten-song set, with highlights arriving via the pitch-perfect, ramshackle single "Rotten" and the loopy, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes-esque "Take Me Home," but Gringo Star, as their name would suggest, are unapologetic anglophiles -- they managed to snag an opening slot for the Zombies, twice. From the Kinks to Temples, the band has architecture and the trebly sonics down pat, and while some of the offerings can come off as a bit too calculated, they're shot through with a considerable amount of backwoods, punk-ass grit, resulting in something that, more often than not, sounds a little less like Donovan and a little more like the Vaccines or Last Shadow Puppets.