Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The New Trocaderos make an album!

Last month I stopped just short of handing album of the year to The Connection. Truthfully, it was hard for me to fathom an album better than the spectacular Labor Of Love. But still I had my suspicions that those Connection guys were going to get edged out - by themselves! And that's exactly what has happened. The New Trocaderos were formed in 2013 by Brad Marino and Geoff Palmer from The Connection along with international heartthrob Kurt Baker. I've been raving about these guys for over a year and a half, and I long envisioned their debut album blowing me away. Now that the album has arrived, I am delighted to report that it's everything I was expecting and then some! Thrills & Chills - featuring a lineup rounded out by The Connection's Rick Orcutt and Kris Rodgers - is a lock for album of the year. Hell, let's just call it album of the decade! Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

Thrills & Chills delivers 12 more outstanding tracks from songwriter Michael Chaney. It's all new material: no covers and no re-recordings of songs from previous EPs. As always, The New Trocaderos put their fresh twist on the timeless rock n' roll of the 1960s. But over the course of a full album, you get a real appreciation for the range of this band's talents and the variety of its repertoire. Certainly it doesn't hurt to have three great lead singers with three distinct styles. And this album adds new dimensions to the band's sound with the inclusion of harmonica, slide guitar, sax, trumpet, and guest backing vocals from the all-star trio of Kim Shattuck, Palmyra Delran, and Line Cecilie Dahlmann. Of course you can expect nods to Dave Edmunds ("What The Hell Did I Do?"), the Rolling Stones ("I'm So Bad"), and Beatles ("Crazy Little Fool") right out of the gate. If you loved "Money Talks" and "Dream Girl" from the earlier singles, you'll go wild for the sing-along raver "By The Balls" and the British Invasion inspired pop gem "She Don't Know". But Thrills & Chills proves that there's more than just two sides to The New Trocaderos. From the Elvis-y doo-wop of "Love Anymore" to the 12-bar blues of "Business To Tend To" to the country-tinged jangle of "Like An Angel", the new ground covered on this album is considerable. And every time this band tries something new, it totally works! "Midnight Creep", featuring a standout vocal from Baker, is moody and mysterious and completely unlike anything the New Trocs have done before. If I were forced at gunpoint to name the best song on the album, "Midnight Creep" would be it.

Thrills & Chills is an album in the truest sense - a diverse collection of songs inspired by the classic LPs of the Beatles, Stones, and Kinks. No doubt, the songs all sound fantastic in isolation. But when they're put together in this specific order, the whole becomes even greater than the sum of its parts. I love how the ass-kicking rockers and the pretty little pop songs complement each other so perfectly. At no point on this album will you feel like you've heard the same song twice. As the title suggests, this is a record made to be enjoyed. It's full of fun and humor and melodies that will be stuck in your head for weeks. Chaney has a real talent for combining a killer hook with clever and instantly memorable lyrics. He mixes storytelling reminiscent of Ray Davies with more traditional odes to teenage romance, heartbreak, and bad boys living for trouble. And for sure, a songwriter could not ask for a better band to bring his visions to life. The boys tear into these tunes with confidence and enthusiasm - Marino, Palmer, and Baker putting on a clinic in rock n' roll guitar while Rodgers channels a young Jerry Lee Lewis on the keys. And with Shattuck, Delran, and Dahlmann knocking those harmonies out of the park, this album definitely brings a little something extra compared to the singles. Straight up, Thrills & Chills is the classic record I knew The New Trocaderos had in 'em. Almost any band would kill to come up with 12 songs this good in a lifetime. Whether you're 8, 80, or any age in between, this album will have you smiling and singing along and reaching for the repeat button again and again. CD and downloads release tomorrow on Uncle Mike's RnR. Vinyl is coming this fall on Ghost Highway Recordings and KOTJ Records out of Spain!


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