Los Lonely Boys - like the little Senorita in their first song - have got it going on. Sure, they look like they eat far too many tacos, their hairstylist is from the dark ages of the 80s, and their photographer seems to think they're a metal band with a spiky houseplant collection.
But none of that nonsense really matters - their music is catchy, and unpretentiously harmonious. Better still, they also have one of those biographies that CD reviewers, DJs, promoters and other music industry riff-raff lap up like free margaritas.
Here goes: They are brothers, who began as a band supporting their muso father in West Texas. They love each other, and God. And wait, there's more: It was none other than legendary country star Willie Nelson who discovered them, named them his favourite new band and recorded them at his own studio. Nelson even plays acoustic guitar on the final track.
Their sound is a simple combination of instruments produced and tightly rehearsed into a warm but slick, uncomplicated formula. Impressive electric guitar and strong rock lead vocals by Henry Garza shine, with JoJo Garza (bass) Ringo Garza (drums) and a few guest artists thickening the sound.You'll know their catchy Grammy Award winning hit, "Heaven". The pleasant surprise here is how strong the rest of the album is - perhaps their unusually long experience before making it big is to be thanked. Some tracks stand out of course, like cute opener "Senorita", the addictive guitar riffs and tunefulness of "Crazy Dream" and the Cuban flavoured "Real emotions". You'll also stumble on a bewildering array of influences - from countrified pop, to Santana-esque solos, to Stevie Ray Vaughan blues, to 50s rock 'n roll, to metal style chord progressions with splashes of South American percussion.
Sure, things get a tad schlocky at times, and some of the longer instrumental interludes might be a bit er... self-pleasing. But all in all you're unlikely to fall out of love with them because of their musical adventures and occasional self indulgences - Los Lonely Boys' debut album holds together well, and it's fun.- Jean Barker
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