Gringo Star bring a relaxed, old-timey party atmosphere to their debut full-length, All Y’All. The Atlanta-based band is already known for their instrument-switching ways, with everyone playing everything at one time or another (including drums…), and that laid-back approach to rock ‘n’ roll comes through in their music. While the good times are probably better live than on record, All Y’All is still a solid player.
The garage-rock relax – and the stark guitar solo – on the record’s titular opener is a good introduction to the band and their approach. Throughout All Y’All, Gringo Star take a somewhat older approach to music, think fifties through seventies, without ever getting overbearing. Some pieces go for the light strum, like the catchy “Up and Down” and sunny “Come On Now”. Others venture into dance hall pian-y, like the piano-man “All Day Long” and saloon “Holding on to Hate”. Party guitar-rock comes through on the dirty “I Will Not Follow” and call-to-fun “Rebel Kind (Hazelwood)”. There’s even a smarmy-sly charm to “March of the Gringo” and marching rhythm-rock to “Take a Walk”.
Some pieces shoot higher or lower. The foot-stomping beat of “Holding” takes it to another level, but the peppy piano of “Don’t Go” is a little underdone. Guitars swing upward on finisher “Black Night”, but the vocals fall a little flat on “Up and Down”. And mixed into the party are a few slower, sadder alt-country twangs that provide a nice change on All Y’All, including the back road “Ask Me Why”, wistful guitar-rock “Transmission”, and relatively straightforward alt-country “Eve of Your Expression”.
Some of Gringo Star’s party-charm is lost when on recording (and you don’t get to see them changing instruments this way and that). But its relaxed good times still shine through on All Y’All.