Review: The Krayolas. Happy Go Lucky (Box)

Don’t call it a “reissue,” San Antonio power pop veterans reimagine 1982 debut


Calling this a "reissue" of long-running San Antonio power poppers the Krayolas' 1982 debut LP, Kolored Music, disservices it deeply. Even "deluxe 40th anniversary edition" bears all the accuracy of claiming Biden stole the election. Properly, Happy Go Lucky's a "reimagining."

Kolored Music's original 2-inch multitrack session tapes, long thought destroyed in a Houston flood, resurfaced in 2020. Now Krayolas standard-bearers the Saldana brothers – Hector on guitar and vocals, and David on drums and vocals – were free to not just remaster, but redo a dead and lifeless original mix. They didn't stop there: It's retitled, with the running order completely revised, retaining only eight of the original 10 tracks, joined by four tunes inexplicably dropped from the original album. Then it sports all-new cover art, including full color photos inside and out!

Ultimately, what matters is the music. There's some of the raw garage pop of 2020's Savage Young Krayolas anthology leaping out of these lively, three-dimensional mixes, delightfully absent of the gated reverb drums and intense compression plaguing most Eighties music. But these guys had the audacity to employ first-call S.A. R&B sessionistas the West Side Horns, leading to "bubblegum soul" à la the title track and "All of the Time." Another step in the Krayolas' embrace of their Tex-Mex roots.

****

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