[15 April 2014]
“Save me from this prison / Lord help me get away.” Those lyrics, excerpted from the popular single “Heaven”, seemed to be ubiquitous back in 2004. Texan trio of brothers Los Lonely Boys were a hot commodity back then. They were also at their commercial peak. Things haven’t been as strong commercially since a multi-platinum debut, but the Garza brothers arrive compellingly in 2014 with sixth LP, Revelation. Eschewing going through the motions as many acts might do into an established career, Los Lonely Boys’ sixth album finds them exploring multiple styles while maintaining consistency in regards to quality. A triumphant effort birthed following a serious injury from Henry Garza, Revelation isn’t an album to sleep on.
“Blame It On Love” kicks off Revelation pleasantly, with a clear and defined sound. Exceptionally well produced, as well as well written, “Blame It On Love” successfully combines elements of Latin music, pop, and rock. Vocally, both lead and supporting vocals are superbly produced, giving the opener another selling point. Follow-up “Give A Little More” contrasts with “Blame It On Love”, opting for reggae-infused rock. Even given the contrast, the result is equally alluring, with the song lying in the pocket, as jazz musicians say. The groove is nothing short of infectious and despite its minor key, the mood of “Give A Little More” is enthused. “It’s Just My Heart Talkin’” yields yet another overall strong showing, even if it doesn’t outclass the opening duo. The combination of acoustic and electric guitar certainly provides an alluring timbre and serves as a sound backdrop to the Los Lonely Boys’ harmonious vocals. The best track it may not be, but “It’s Just My Heart Talkin’” continues to find the band flexing.
“There’s Always Tomorrow” continues the eclecticism of Revelation, taking on a pop sound. “There’s Always Tomorrow” kicks off with a harpsichord patch, a sound that gives it a Baroque element—now that’s eclectic. The messaging is both prudent and warm and fuzzy, exemplified by the refrain: “There’s always tomorrow / why don’t we live today / telling the ones we love / I love you.” The song has winner written all over it. “So Sensual” similarly shines, this time tapping into soul as the genre of choice. Although little of Revelation has been predictable, the title “So Sensual” makes the listener anticipate an enhanced soulfulness signifying the classic R&B influence. Throw in continual magnificent guitar playing, not to mention the use of throwback horns, and “So Sensual” has hit written all over it. “See The Light”, much like the earlier “Give A Little More”, has a tough duo of juggernauts to follow. That said, like Revelation as a whole, “See The Light” showcases magnificent musicianship and consistency if nothing more.
Consistency continues throughout the remainder of Revelation. “Don’t Walk Away” picks right up where “See The Light” leaves off, propelled by soul-rock groove, and bright vocals once more in spite of its minor key. “Can’t Slow Down” doesn’t slow down, at least where spunk and fiestiness is concerned: “I love living in the fast lane / cause it’s all I know / don’t try to catch me / cause you’re too damn slow.” Funky and electrifying, the trio doesn’t miss a beat, hitting the nail right on the head on the brief, but punchy joint. “Dream Away” still maintains the intensity exhibited by the majority of the songs, but in more laid-back fashion. “Dream Away” is a solid album track, but don’t call it the album’s most notable track or tour de force.
Like “Dream Away”, “The Greatest Ever” possesses that solidness without necessarily being categorized in the top three of Revelation. “The Greatest Ever” is quite a sincere ode, if nothing more. Penultimate number “Rule The World” smartly kicks up the tempo and intensity following the thoughtful and more restrained “The Greatest Ever”. “Rule The World” is good old rock-n-roll. It’s not the second coming by any means, but it’s definitely enjoyable. “Everything About You” closes Revelation ode-style, not unlike “The Greatest Ever”. Los Lonely Boys offer a simple message: “All I know is there’s something in your eyes / All I know is that I love everything about you.” Throw in a dash of horns, and “The Greatest Ever” presents a welcome closing statement.
Ultimately, Revelation is an exceptional sixth album from Los Lonely Boys. Eclectic, consistent, and performed at an incredibly high level of musicianship, the Texas trio delivers some of their best work. Perhaps Revelation doesn’t exemplify perfection, but it does show great conception and the accompanying execution of that conception at its finest.