Vallejo Reviewed

Vallejo Reviewed


Into the New (Epic/Crescent Moon/550 Music)

Twenty-four seconds is all it takes for Vallejo's major-label debut to bloom. "Welcome to my room with a view," intones leather-pants-wearing A.J. Vallejo on the album's explosive title track, classic rock guitars booming like KLBJ FM through your JBLs. "I hope you'll stay for a while." It's an invitation worth accepting, especially if you keep that car-radio dial tuned to local frequency 93.7, longtime home to a beefy, Texan guitar sound as high and rock-solid as the walls of a local Sixth Street live music venue once known as Steamboat. "Hola, bienvenidos," reaffirms Vallejo's "Classico," one of an album's worth of solid, readymade drive-time anthems. "This is all an invitation to an open congregation." Get it? "Open Invitation." Santana. If the subtle, percussive Latin mulch of "Someday" doesn't evoke Tijuana's favorite son overtly, "La Famila" obviously traces its musical heritage to the aforementioned Grammy-winning guitar guru who fused Tito Puente and psychedelic blues. It works. "Modern Day Slave," with its undeniably great riffs and hooks, blasts from its mid-album anchor spot like a song that would sound perfectly at home sandwiched between ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and a Schlotzsky's commercial. Phat, modern, and muchos cojónes. Great shit. The Tijuana horn on "El Matador" (not the Los Fabulosos Cadillacs' song) would make the master smile. Not that Vallejo don't have their own sound. They do. One that sounds like 30 years of classic rock radio.


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