Tumbleweed from Gringo is a reverb-drenched, falsetto-heavy, and personality-driven goldmine of inspired indie-rock tunes.
Mix the grainy-rock appeal of The Black Keys with the falsetto harmonies and indie-swagger sensibilities of Lime Cordiale, and you’ve got Gringo. The loveable chaps were formed through Ryan Gillespie; the writer and recorder of their debut album, The Shores. The Northern CA based Gringo have been kicking for five years now, going through many band-member-changes, amidst recording at the Puddin Pup Records home studio.
However, their sophomore LP Tumbleweed is certainly their strongest effort yet. Tumbleweed builds upon his Gillespie’s signature lo-fi, garage-rock sound with compelling storytelling, exploratory production, and agile instrumentation to create an entirely appealing listening experience.
Delving into the tracklist, opener Daywalker (Part 1) grips you with its chilling melody, “stoned to the bone”, and a synth functioning as a drone. It builds tension for the flurry of enjoyable musical outbursts to follow. Daydreaming (Part 2) is a masterclass of arrangement, beginning with strummed acoustic and vivid lyricism, adding outback guitars, then finally drums and bass, both capable of rhythmic elasticity.
As the psychedelically-tinged tracklist continues, we begin to receive more glimpses of Gillespie’s life experiences, searching inward and out to find meaning. Interestingly, the tracklist is in “chronological order” of these experiences, making the LP more than worth the full listen. In order, of course. Next, we’re treated to Hiding, the most instantly catchy of the dozen tracks. Its fun, yet poignant one-liners, like “working hard never worked for me”, drill into your memory with the help of some staccato melodic punch.
Should Have Known and Twenty Five both ooze with swagger; “cigarette and a question, and my eyes are burning”. They’re both solid headphone options to pop on when you’re walking down the suburban streets before a night out. Time is one of the strongest tracks lyrically, as Gillespie kisses off people no longer worth his efforts. The stop-start rhythm from the drums is tongue-in-cheek but fits perfectly to the tone of the track. “If it’s so easy, whys everyone I know, keep sinking deeper, caught up with friends and foes”. The clock is always ticking, and “I could stick around, but I don’t wanna waste my time” is a wholly universal sentiment.
Smiling Eyes is straight and assured, wild and exciting. The screeching, fuzzy embellishments and production in the chorus are an effective touch; something out of a rockier Radiohead cut. There’s a reason Gillespie refers to the band’s new guitarist Kyle Schwenning as their “secret weapon”. The tracks wouldn’t hold the listener as effectively without him. Finally, the LP concludes with the romantic, 50s inspired Wildflower, which you can read our thoughts on here.
Pre-save the fantastic LP from Gringo here.