Gringo Star - The Sides And In Between album review

Retro rock with a beat fetish

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Listening to this, the fourth album by the Atlanta, Georgia garage rockers Gringo Star, it doesn’t come as a surprise that they’ve opened for the likes of the Black Lips, Weezer and The Zombies. What we have here is a record that crackles with toasty valve amps, insistent melodies and enough nods to the British invasion of the 1960s to cause long-term neck pain.

Across its 10 tracks and 30-minute running time, Gringo Star veer stylistically through power-pop (Get Closer), snot-nosed rockers (Rotten) and Merseybeat (The Last Trace), all underpinned by a wide-eyed sense of wonder that holds the whole thing together.

Sadly, this isn’t a consistent listen. Still Alive evokes images of a punch-up between Pete Doherty and Lee Mavers, while the downbeat Still Alive is way too calculated to convince. At their best though – see the psyche groove of Knee Deep – Gringo Star can be a lot of fun.