Gringo Star – Count Yer Lucky Stars Review

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.

Gringo Star – Count Yer Lucky Stars (2011) – 8.0 / 10.0

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
Key Tracks:
“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.

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Reviewer Stats:
Reviews – 35
Average Rating – 6.8
Highest Rating – 9.5 Blitzen Trapper’s American Goldwing
Lowest Rating – 3.5 Ryan Adams Ashes & Fire

About Chris Bell

Chris Bell was born in the suburbs of Kansas City, MO in 1981. His path toward a life enjoying music began at ten, when he first heard Queen. Chris attended Truman State University in Kirksville, MO, where he studied English and Communication Arts. While there, Chris spent three years working as an on-air disc jockey for 88.7 KTRM Radio. Chris was the host/creator of the weekly ‘Tangled Up In Bob’ show and a frequent guest on the station’s weekend talk format, serving as a guest commentator on music and politics. It was during this time that Chris was first published by the National Communication Association. His work, ‘Dylan and the New Left: How Political Song Changed American Political Rhetoric’ was presented at the 2002 NCA National Convention in New Orleans. Chris was the only undergraduate to present research on his panel, ‘Rhetorical Strategies in Music’. After college, Chris moved back to Kansas City and started his own talent management company, Poker Face Productions. He continued to manage that company until moving to Brooklyn, NY to pursue a business opportunity in 2008. While there, Chris started as a weekly column writer and album reviewer for Now back in the Midwest, Chris is hoping to bring what he learned about music media in New York to his hometown and support an already vibrant arts culture in Kansas City. His areas of concentration include American Roots, Glam Rock, Punk, Psychedelia, Chamber Pop, American Underground, and Garage Rock.

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