Los Lonely Boys
Revelation (Lonely Tone / Playing in Traffic)
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Jan. 31, 2014
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. Revelation, the band's most naturalistic disc since then, prompts just such recollections. A pair of follow-ups for the Japanese conglomerate struck the charts without the staying power of "Heaven," and by 2011 indie full-length Rockpango, the hermanos Garza had trademarked a Lone Star template: Texican™. Like previous ATX platinum club members Fastball – and (to a somewhat lesser extent) the Butthole Surfers – Henry, JoJo, and Ringo Garza survived the ghoulish mainstream and now settle into a comfort zone mostly absent of radio fealty without sacrificing an ounce of melody. The electro thread of Wal-Mart bouncer "There's Always Tomorrow" and formulaic struts "Don't Walk Away" and "Can't Slow Down" try too hard, but the balance of Revelation relaxes and, in that down-home groove, thrives. From the conjunto flourish opening the album ("Blame It on Love"), then ragga bullseye "Give a Little More," likely the stickiest chorus here, LLB knows its mind, heart, and sound. The Richie Valens/"La Bamba" nod of "Dream Away" connects two different centuries, while "So Sensual" scores far beyond its title. Henry Garza's croon and six-string stroke arrive straight out of Fifties R&B whispering "wedding song." His vocal weave with co-frontman and bassist JoJo on "Dream Away" matches the harmonic flutter of "So Sensual." The heavier groove of "Rule the World" should bear future exploration. Revelation returns Los Lonely Boys to their sweet spot.