-->
Music

Los Lonely Boys: Revelation

Los Lonely Boys deliver some of their best work, exhibiting exceptional musicianship on the eclectic yet consistent Revelation.


Los Lonely Boys

Revelation

Label: Playing In Traffic
US Release Date: 2014-01-21
UK Release Date: Import
Amazon
iTunes

"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.

8
Music

The Best Indie Rock of 2017

Photo courtesy of Matador Records

The indie rock genre is wide and unwieldy, but the musicians selected here share an awareness of one's place on the cultural-historical timeline.

Indie rock may be one of the most fluid and intangible terms currently imposed upon musicians. It holds no real indication of what the music will sound like and many of the artists aren't even independent. But more than a sonic indicator, indie rock represents a spirit. It's a spirit found where folk songsters and punk rockers come together to dialogue about what they're fed up with in mainstream culture. In so doing they uplift each other and celebrate each other's unique qualities.

With that in mind, our list of 2017's best indie rock albums ranges from melancholy to upbeat, defiant to uplifting, serious to seriously goofy. As always, it's hard to pick the best ten albums that represent the year, especially in such a broad category. Artists like King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard had a heck of a year, putting out four albums. Although they might fit nicer in progressive rock than here. Artists like Father John Misty don't quite fit the indie rock mold in our estimation. Foxygen, Mackenzie Keefe, Broken Social Scene, Sorority Noise, Sheer Mag... this list of excellent bands that had worthy cuts this year goes on. But ultimately, here are the ten we deemed most worthy of recognition in 2017.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less
Music

The Best Country Music of 2017

still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

Year to year, country music as a genre sometimes seems to roll on without paying that much attention to what's going on in the world (with the exception of bro-country singers trying to adopt the latest hip-hop slang). That can feel like a problem in a year when 58 people are killed and 546 are injured by gun violence at a country-music concert – a public-relations issue for a genre that sees many of its stars outright celebrating the NRA. Then again, these days mainstream country stars don't seem to do all that well when they try to pivot quickly to comment on current events – take Keith Urban's muddled-at-best 2017 single "Female", as but one easy example.

Keep reading... Show less

It's ironic that by injecting a shot of cynicism into this glorified soap opera, Johnson provides the most satisfying explanation yet for the significance of The Force.

Despite J.J. Abrams successfully resuscitating the Star Wars franchise with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many fans were still left yearning for something new. It was comforting to see old familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away, but casual fans were unlikely to tolerate another greatest hits collection from a franchise already plagued by compositional overlap (to put it kindly).

Keep reading... Show less
7

Yeah Yeah Yeahs played a few US shows to support the expanded reissue of their debut Fever to Tell.

Although they played a gig last year for an after-party for a Mick Rock doc, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hadn't played a proper NYC show in four years before their Kings Theatre gig on November 7th, 2017. It was the last of only a handful of gigs, and the only one on the East coast.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image