Shinyribs

Fog & Bling

Texas Platters

On "I'm Clean," it's as clear as looking in a mirror that Kevin Russell has become the Austin equivalent of Memphis soul goofball Rufus Thomas (1917-2001): an unfathomably funky individual with off-the-charts charisma and a knack for clever lyricism – not to mention a penchant for colorful suits. "Clean as a preacher's socks/ Clean as the keys to the prison's locks/ Clean as a gin drink on the rocks," sings the ex-Gourd on LP five fronting his Shinyribs troupe.

Russell's uncanny way with words continues on "Hoods of Cars," wherein he taps youthful nostalgia from the philosophical vantage point of reclining atop a Pontiac. Over the track's horn-fueled groove, the singer unleashes a flurry of vocalizations – "B-r-r-r-r-r! Ah-ah, ah-ah" – that rival the ad-libs of modern trap artists. Yung Thug eat your heart out.

Follow-up to 2017's I Got Your Medicine, the Ribs' latest obscures any obvious favorite. Nothing here quite rivals the transcendence of "Take Me Lake Charles" from 2013 breakout LP Gulf Coast Museum or "Poor People's Store" from its preceding bow Well After Awhile three years earlier. Nevertheless, Fog & Bling relates the shoulder-shaking, multi-genre communion of the Austin Music Awards' reigning, two-time Band of the Year winners and their live performances, and serves as a remarkably consistent playlist.

"Highway of Diamonds" evokes Van Morrison singing an escapist daydream over a C6th tuning and stands as the 10-track collection's most beautiful song. Meanwhile, the candlelit R&B of "Crazy Lonely" decries a magic-is-gone relationship on a heart-wrenching sleeper. On that cut and several thereafter, backing vocal duo Alice Spencer and Kelley Mickwee deliver harmonies that at times out-bling their bandleader. No easy task, that.

***.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Shinyribs
Texas Platters
Shinyribs
I Got Your Medicine (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 24, 2017

Worst Tour Stories Ever
Worst Tour Stories Ever
The road goes on forever and the party never ends

July 8, 2016

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Teenage Cavegirl
Candy Cigarettes (Record Review)

Tim Stegall, July 5, 2019

Texas Platters
Hector Ward & the Big Time
Smile Into Life (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, July 5, 2019

More by Kevin Curtin
Scott Collins Digs His Own Grave in New Video
Scott Collins Digs His Own Grave in New Video
Songwriter and TCM Westerns enthusiast faces down death

July 19, 2019

Abbott Orders Texas Prosecutors to Enforce Marijuana Laws
Abbott Orders Texas Prosecutors to Enforce Marijuana Laws
Travis County DA says dismissals will continue

July 18, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Shinyribs

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle