Reviews

Left Arm Tan’s El Camino


By Brian Rock

Left Arm Tan is ready to hit the road with their fourth album, El Camino. Conjuring the image of a windows-down road trip, Left Arm Tan (LAT) perfectly captures the sun-drenched sound of Poco and The Eagles in their prime. Although from Fort Worth, TX; LAT evokes the laid-back Country-Rock sensibilities of their Southern California influences.

The title track, “El Camino,” for example combines steel and electric guitars along with lyrical references to Tulsa and San Antonio to paint a wistful, yet buoyant Americana landscape. The “Seven Bridges Road” style vocal harmonies perfectly complete the sonic landscape.

“Shortcut To Oblivion” uses acoustic guitars and piano to tell the tragic tale of a young singer seeking her fame and fortune. Describing the heartaches of aspiring stars and the methods they use to self-medicate those pains, LAT sings, “A little drunken Rolling Stone, her song came on the radio. She was already gone, never heard her song as she died all alone.”

LAT puts the bass out front on the bitter break up song, “Give A Damn.” As defiant as the pounding bass, LAT sings, “Tonight I’m showing all my cards, and I’m wearing short sleeves. And I’ll be chasing the queen of hearts until the last queen leaves.” With a snarling lead guitar break and subtle steel guitar throughout, this is the perfect post-relationship song when your “give a damn just broke.”

Left Arm Tan takes a rockin’ trip on the way-back machine on their cover of Del Reeves’ “Looking At The World Through A Windshield,” A roaring, honky-tonk tribute that’s truly worthy of the original.

The haunting, atmospheric, “It’s Too Late,” tells the cautionary tale of a man who gives in to temptation. Warning of the consequences of a moment of weakness, LAT sings, “The devil won’t wear horns and a tail. He’ll be what you want when your soul’s for sale… And it’s too late.”

LAT loads the “flip side” of the album with ballads. “Mistress Freedom” reveals the lonely paradox of those who can’t settle down, with the observation that, “Freedom is my love, but my mistress can’t love me.” “No You No Me” expresses the joy of losing yourself in another. “The Best I Never Had” is a tender song of unrequited love. “I Try” is a melancholy tribute to those fighting addictions.

With songs about the road, freedom and wild horses, El Camino is the perfect soundtrack for a road trip when you have no particular place to go. At turns introspective, then ebullient, but always beautifully melodic, El Camino runs on all cylinders.

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Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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