Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dollar Llama – Grand Union

Life is full of surprises. Fortunately, there are just enough good surprises around to make some of the other type bearable. Take this particular album for example. I received a link to it from a band in Portugal called Dollar Llama. They sent me the link in hopes that I would play a track or two on my radio show. I loved this album so much that not only have I played some of it on my show, I'm sitting here writing this review. This album has been out for a year and it makes me sad that I just found it and haven't been able to enjoy it until now. Pleasant surprise indeed.

These guys are the type of band that I really like, in that they are hard to just categorize. I know everyone likes to see the “recommended if you like” such and such bands in a review, because then the reader gets a little idea of what the music sounds like. This would be a hard band to classify like that. I would call them a heavy rock band, with a healthy dose of modern rock sound, but also with a lot of swing to what they do. There's some bluesy stuff at times, there's some stuff that you could almost call stoner rock, but not quite. They are a unique sounding band and that's what makes them worth listening to, in my opinion.

The band launch into this album as if their lives depend on it. It is heavy from the jump and if you listen to it from beginning to end in one sitting you may feel a little punch drunk, in a good way. Vocalist Tiago Simões has a voice that you really must hear and he drives a lot of this music with his powerful attack. I dig his voice a lot. Dollar Llama barrel through the first two and a half tracks like a muscle car from the glory days of Detroit, but just when you think you know what this ride is going to be like, they ease back on the throttle and roll out a very, very tasty guitar solo in “Jaws”. The next track, “Bloodthunder”, swaggers and staggers on into the room and then you know that this band does what they please, and they do it well.

If you are a fan of the 90's rock sound, “Days of the Highwatt” is going to hit your sweet spot so hard you will probably have full blown type 2 diabetes in about five minutes.  I close my eyes and listen to this track and I just go twenty years back in time. That IS a compliment in my book. “Almighty Red” is probably my favorite track on the album, and to continue that 90's theme a bit, this one wouldn't be out of place on a Stone Temple Pilots album. Please do not think that this is all just a big nostalgia trip, though, because it is a very modern sounding and feeling album. They just do what they do so well that it reminds me of some heavy hitters from days gone by.

It is possible that, like me, you have missed out on this album. If that is the case, rectify that situation right now and check this one out. There is all kinds of good, heavy rock on this one and you owe it to yourself to hear it.


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