Saturday, January 11, 2014

Los Lonely Boys: “Revelation” (2014) CD Review

Revelation, the new album from Los Lonely Boys, is full of bright, positive pop vibes. It’s a mix of pop, rock and country, and even a bit of reggae. Many of its tracks deal with that perennial pop topic, love. And perhaps because of the number of love songs, there are also some cheesy lyrics. In “So Sensual,” they sing, “I’ve been swept off my feet by the girl with the sparkling eyes/Love the smell of her hair when she passes by it makes me smile.” These are songs mainly designed to make you feel good, and while they’re not really breaking any new ground, there are some good tunes, and one stand-out track (“Everything About You”).

Revelation opens with “Blame It One Love,” a song with a feel-good country rock rhythm and full of positive vibes. It’s a tune about how love can change you, change your desires and actions, as in: “Her girlfriends say sometimes/That she lost her mind/’Cause she gave up on her dreams/All for the diamond ring.” There is a bit of a cheesy element when they sing, “It can make you high or bring you down/Or make you laugh and cry/It can turn your whole life upside down/If you need a reason why,” but then immediately picks up with some nice work on guitar. This is one of the album’s best tracks. It was written by Henry Garza and Joey Garza.

Los Lonely Boys dip into the world of reggae on “Give A Little More,” the song’s lyrics fitting well with that rhythm and its message of reaching out to your fellow man, with lines like “We’ve got to live as one.” Sure, they resort to some clichés like “What goes around comes around/Life isn’t always what you planned.” But I dig the opening lines: “Take a look at yourself/Don’t believe everything you see” (mixing two lines that are close to clichés, but whose combination gives both a new bent, and shows a sense of humor).

I like the more acoustic feel of “It’s Just My Heart Talkin.’” This song still has a pop thing happening, with a bit of a bouncy rhythm, and is one of the many love songs on the album. Here is a taste of the lyrics: “It’s just my heart talkin’ to you and I don’t know what to say/But I’m putting all my love out on the line/It’s just my heart talkin’ to you/Telling you I want you to be mine.” Kim Waryner (of the excellent band The Greencards) plays mandolin on this track.

“There’s Always Tomorrow” is even more in the pop world, but it’s undeniably catchy. It’s an interesting love song about living in the present, telling your loved one how you feel. “There’s always tomorrow/But what if I don’t wake up, what did I leave behind/Why do I always say/There’s always tomorrow/Why don’t I live today/Telling the ones I love/I love you.” This one is really growing on me.

“Don’t Walk Away” is a love song of sorts, in which the woman he loves is not trusting. She checks up on him in lines like, “I see you goin’ through my pockets and you say you smell perfume/Baby, that ain’t cool” and “Now you’re calling all my friends trying to find out where I’ve been.” This is a woman that he should be walking away from instead of begging not to walk away. So I get really annoyed by the song’s perspective.

This album is weakest on its harder tracks, particularly “Can’t Slow Down” and “Rule The World.” In “Can’t Slow Down,” he sings, “So I got a lot of tattoos/And I got long hair/You can say what you want to/But I just don’t care/I’m not trying to be different.” Clearly.

“Dream Away” has a bit of a nod to “La Bamba” right at the beginning. This one has more positive vibes and a positive message: “Don’t stop dreaming/Just dream away/Now when you’re worried/Or afraid and all alone/You can dream away/When life’s a hurry/And it seems you can’t go on/You can dream away.” A short section of this song is in Spanish.

There are more positive vibes on “The Greatest Ever,” a more acoustic song. Sure, its main line is simple: “You’re the greatest ever.” But I like the sound of this song a lot. Partly that's due to the presence of Rashad Eggleston on cello. This song is a direct message of love and hope. Though I could do without lines like the cliché “Spread your wings and fly” and “And never say never and don’t you forget to pray.

By far, my favorite track is the album’s closer, “Everything About You.”  It’s a simple love song, but it’s totally effective. It’s honest and sweet, with a more acoustic feel, which I love. And it still has a bit of a catchy rhythm. Plus, there is a nice (though short) instrumental section, led by guitar. “All I know is there’s something in your eyes/And it shows/I can see it in your smile/Who knows if it’s going to work out right/All I know is I love everything about you.” Fernando Castillo plays flugelhorn on this track.

CD Track List

  1. Blame It On Love
  2. Give A Little More
  3. It’s Just My Heart Talkin’
  4. There’s Always Tomorrow
  5. So Sensual
  6. See The Light
  7. Don’t Walk Away
  8. Can’t Slow Down
  9. Dream Away
  10. The Greatest Ever
  11. Rule The World
  12. Everything About You

Revelation is scheduled to be released on January 21, 2014 on Playing In Traffic Records.

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