Gringo Star

The Sides and In Between

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The Atlanta-based psych-rockers' fourth studio long-player and first for Nevado Music, Sides and in Between crackles with vintage tube-driven distortion, needle-in-the-red vocals, and enough syrupy melodies to satisfy even the most ardent, paisley-clad, crate-digging vinyl fanatic. Breezy, slightly skewed, and country-fied Laurel Canyon psych-pop dominates about half of the ten-song set, with highlights arriving via the pitch-perfect, ramshackle single "Rotten" and the loopy, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes-esque "Take Me Home," but Gringo Star, as their name would suggest, are unapologetic anglophiles -- they managed to snag an opening slot for the Zombies, twice. From the Kinks to Temples, the band has architecture and the trebly sonics down pat, and while some of the offerings can come off as a bit too calculated, they're shot through with a considerable amount of backwoods, punk-ass grit, resulting in something that, more often than not, sounds a little less like Donovan and a little more like the Vaccines or Last Shadow Puppets. This formula works best on top-down, open-road summer jams like "Get Closer," "Last Race," and "Heading South," but it also adds interesting textures to more meandering pieces like "Magic" and the torchy "Undone," the latter of which, with its sock-hop organ and spectral whistling, almost feels like a Joe Meek production. Ultimately, Sides and in Between is an exercise in nostalgia, but there is a good-natured, homespun vibe at play throughout that helps to smooth out some of the more overtly retro trappings.

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