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Gringo Star - The Sides And In Between album review

Retro rock with a beat fetish

Gringo Star The Sides And In Between album cover

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.

Julian Marszalek is the former Reviews Editor of The Blues Magazine. He has written about music for Music365, Yahoo! Music, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME and Shindig! among many others. As the Deputy Online News Editor at Xfm he revealed exclusively that Nick Cave’s second novel was on the way. During his two-decade career, he’s interviewed the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne, and has been ranted at by John Lydon. He’s also in the select group of music journalists to have actually got on with Lou Reed. Marszalek taught music journalism at Middlesex University and co-ran the genre-fluid Stow Festival in Walthamstow for six years.