Finally, Gringo Star’s sophomore LP has arrived and I’m happy to say that it has been worth the wait. Armed with a memorable band name and a year’s worth of media attention, this record didn’t need hype to be fantastic.
Release Date: Oct. 25, 2011
Running Time: 33:41
Label: Gigantic Music
Producer: Ben H. Allen
Genre: Neo-Psychedelic Rock,Garage Rock Revival
Drug of Choice: Marijuana, Mushrooms
“Beatnik Angel Georgie”
“Make You Mine”
For a band making their first major statement on the national music scene, Gringo Star feels like they have been around forever. That is in part because the hype surround their second LP, Count Yer Lucky Stars, began almost a year ago. Shortly before SXSW this year, NPR featured the band in their preview episode. Ever since then, their name has been randomly dropped throughout the Indie press.
A lot of the attention is thanks in part to the album being available to the press for over five months. Every now and again bands, PR agents, or labels will use this strategy in an attempt to develop a self-sustaining hype machine for a band’s first major record, and to mixed result. It worked well for Vampire Weekend, not so much for the Vaccines. What tends to happen in these cases is that critics simply grow tired of the record by the time it finally releases and it ends up getting buried under the weight of the mighty ‘best-of’ list at year’s end. Of course, a hugely deciding factor in that process is how good the record is. In the case of Gringo Starr, Count Yer Lucky Stars has only gotten stronger over the previous months.
Equal parts Built to Spill and The Coral, Gringo Star are a quartet of multi-instrumentalists from Atlanta. That Southern base works extremely well for them here, as the pretensions and over-production that would typically tag-a-long with a record like this are happily absent. In short, Gringo Star make Indie fun. Listening to Count Yer Lucky Stars isn’t an arduous journey of epic proportions (read: boring or tedious). At its heart, this is a collection of jaunty love songs, with just the right amount of effects and reverb.
“Make You Mine” is probably the album’s strongest track, featuring a backing vocal catchy enough to be featured in a car commercial any day now. On the album’s closer, “Mexican Coma”, Gringo utilizes that Lanois dreamy retro back beat that has been championed by so many inferior indie outfits (I’m looking at you Best Coast) to its very best function. The band sounds sloppy, but controlled and they walk that line superbly. I don’t really have any complaints about Count Yer Luck Stars. One might think that it is too light to have staying power, but after five months I’m still more than willing to wear this record out with repeated listens.
Reviews – 35
Average Rating – 6.8
Highest Rating – 9.5 Blitzen Trapper’s American Goldwing
Lowest Rating – 3.5 Ryan Adams Ashes & Fire