May 1, 2012
Review: Gringo Star – ‘Count Yer Lucky Stars’
Gringo Star – Count Yer Lucky Stars
It’s hard to ignore the recent spate of bands named after inverted figures from popular culture: Dananananaykroyd; John Cougar Concentration Camp; electronic artists like Com Truise and Joy Orbison; the double hit fusion of Kathleen Turner Overdrive. Gringo Star also fit, nominally at least, into this category, and the Atlanta four-piece are back, following up 2008’s fun-loving debut All Y’all with another set of high energy, harmony-rich sunshine rock.
Rotating around the fraternal pairing of Nicholas and Pete Furgiuele, there’s a democratic air about the group when it comes to song writing, with Pete DeLorenzo and Chris Kaufmann contributing tracks to Count Yer Lucky Stars alongside the brothers. This results in an entertaining variety of influences throughout: from the stomping psych-rock of lead single ‘Shadow’, to ‘Light in the Sky”s country shuffle and pastoral harmonies.
At times the group slip into Drums-like surf-rock (‘Jessica’), and the debt shown by ‘You Want It’ to the alt rock of the ’90s is a thread Gringo Star continually pull. In fact, there’s a high level of fairly tired pastiche running all the way through Count Yer Lucky Stars, not least the mariachi flavours of tracks like ‘Got It’ and ‘Mexican Coma’. (Incidentally, folk flautist Geoffrey Kelly’s 2002 foray into the mariachi sound resulted in an album entitled Gringo Star. Coincidence? Probably). Lyrically, the album often reverts to the asinine (looking at you, ‘Come Alive’), and originality arrangement-wise is obviously not what’s being strived for here. Yet it’s largely harmless fare with a playful bent.
Producer Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Gnarls Barkley) is again behind the boards, recording the band live down in their hometown and teasing out a slightly more polished sound than that of All Y’all, but even he can do nothing to rescue the album’s weakest moments – namely ‘Esmarelda”s nasal whine, and the insufferable folk jaunt of ‘Beatnik Angel Georgie’.
Almost four years after All Y’all, Count Yer Lucky Stars finally came to fruition after being picked up by Brooklyn imprint Gigantic Music. The reason for the gap between albums is unclear, but it certainly wasn’t to explore different musical avenues, as unfortunately Count Yer Lucky Stars picks up All Y’all‘s baton and for the most part runs sideways.
Read this review in context over at THE 405