In a time when good old fashioned electric guitar rock has grown a bit stagnant, a fresh new quintet from Texas is stepping up to provide a jolt courtesy of a concise and confident debut that makes a case for the genre by adding touches of blues, country and southern rock to muscular classic rock riffs.
The Drugstore Gypsies makes its intentions clear with the biographical opener, "Drugstore Gypsy." Following a guttural blues lick, the band launches into a hard-charging song about raising a ruckus, commotion and hullabaloo while going from town to town looking to throw down. No deep meanings here, just a first-person perspective on the chaotic life of a young touring band.
Related themes are evident throughout. "Black Label Boogie," the album's obligatory nod to Jack Daniels, is a nice little blues rock number. While "Show Up Show Down," the set's heaviest track, is an invigorating call to action urging people to come out and enjoy a show, and it is also one of many tracks showcasing Dillan Dostal's lead guitar prowess.
The band adds some depth to its sound by incorporating horns into three songs. In addition to "Drugstore Gypsy," both the mid-tempo rocker "Live The Life" and the bluesy "Breakin' The Law," with its Rolling Stones-inspired opening lick, are enhanced with the horns, resulting in a fuller sound featuring some nice tension build/release moments.
Although the band clearly likes to rock, they don't lose momentum when they back it down a bit. "Indian Summer," the final track, features some clever wordplay and affords lead vocalist Duke Ryan a chance to showcase the warmth of his instrument as his words are echoed by the smooth Hammond organ. On "Runnin' To," the band augments a memorable melody with a killer guitar lick, great supporting organ work and a chorus that crescendos with nice group vocals, resulting in one of the finest moments.
In the second verse of "Live The Life," Ryan sings about rolling your windows down and letting the good times roll. The Drugstore Gypsies is the ideal album to do just that.