Album Review of Revelation by Los Lonely Boys.
Release Date: Jan 21, 2014
Record label: Playing in Traffic
Genre(s): Latin, Pop/Rock, Hard Rock, Roots Rock, Guitar Virtuoso, Conjunto, Mexican Traditions, Norteno, Tex-Mex
“Save me from this prison / Lord help me get away.” Those lyrics, excerpted from the popular single “Heaven”, seemed to be ubiquitous back in 2004. Texan trio of brothers Los Lonely Boys were a hot commodity back then. They were also at their commercial peak. Things haven’t been as strong commercially since a multi-platinum debut, but the Garza brothers arrive compellingly in 2014 with sixth LP, Revelation.
As the first album the band recorded after guitarist Henry Garza suffered a serious spinal injury when he fell off-stage during a concert, 2014's Revelation finds Los Lonely Boys revitalized. The Texan trio has never been constrained by genre, but here they let their imagination wild, dabbling in every sound or style that's ever tickled their fancy, easing into proceedings with a teasing bit of traditional Tex-Mex -- "Blame It on Love" opens with little more than guitar, accordion, and voice -- before diving into every roots or rock style they've ever hinted at in the past. This does include melodic AOR adult pop -- "Give a Little More" could be mistaken for the great lost outtake from Santana's Supernatural -- and one of the pleasures of Revelation is the ease with which Los Lonely Boys can do this kind of soft rock without losing earthiness.
Had their 2004 Sony debut not gone double platinum – two million copies sold – Los Lonely Boys might still be the reigning blues-rock heavyweights of a town that barely recognizes the sport today. The San Angelo trio of siblings ripped through Austin's club scene early this millennium with electrifying performances equaled only by Gary Clark Jr. nearly a decade later.
While it might be tempting to categorize the music from this band of brothers as some kind of Latin rock hybrid, in truth, that would be underestimating Los Lonely Boys’ true prowess. Some seven albums on, they’re dabbling in a multitude of distinct genres, from south of the border ballads to the kind of relentless rock ‘n’ roll tailor made for the stadium circuit. With a heady mix of pop, R&B, reggae, country and blues tossed in for good measure, Los Lonely Boys have shown their mettle when it comes to scaling the charts and wooing those audiences that can fuel that ascent.
Ten years have passed since the Texas-based Los Lonely Boys scored a Grammy with the hit single “Heaven.” They’ve released some quality records since, but “Revelation” does not live up to its ambitious title. It starts with the wallop of “Blame It on Love” (as a conjunto groove explodes to a scorching rock shuffle) and “Give a Little More,” boasting a bluesy reggae beat. This is a band of siblings (Henry, JoJo, and Ringo Garza) that you want to pull for, especially since Henry is coming back from a serious injury after falling off a stage last year.