A while back I received Chico Ray, the debut self-titled album from Los Angeles, California born musician Chico Ray. The album comes to us courtesy of Mustin from Mustin Productions as well as OCremix and The OneUps fame. And when the amazing Mustin recommends you music, you take heed! The album can be described along the lines of acoustic nerd music. So let's get into the album review.
The first thing you should know about this album, is that it is most definitely not for the easily offended, and should probably not be played in the presence of young children and old folks who talk about "the good old days."
For those that are not easily offended, come with me through this amazing album. The first song, appropriately named "Shitting" sets up the outlook for the entire album, and is also very descriptive of the first track, which is a mellow acoustic song accompanied by soothing vocals near the end. as well as, understandably, bathroom noises. This track is followed up by The First Time, another soothing acoustic guitar tune. The vocals are just as calm as the guitar work, though the vocals take a turn at about the halfway point. Once the song crosses the halfway marker the song slowly winds back down and into the next song. I Needs to Know is a short track at about 2 minutes. The intro is some more gentle guitar strumming, then at about 20 seconds the song kicks off with a catchy rhythm and vocals. The outro starts with about 50 seconds of track left, and involves some sexual noises behind the slow repetition of "I need to know." The next song has a jazzier tone to it, and includes a lengthy flute solo followed by an acoustic guitar solo in the center of the song.
Next up on the album is my own personal favorite track. It's titled Baby Don't You Go Away, and is made to sound like it was recorded in a small restaurant, in it you can hear the clacking of plates as well as conversations in the background. The song is pure acoustic guitar and vocals, giving it a very minimalist sound that juxtaposes very well with the subject matter of the song, and when you bring in the fact that he is singing lines such as "Sit on my face one more time for me, you bitch" in the middle of a diner the song is made even more astonishing. The song starts off with the diner introduction, then he gently strums his guitar as he talks, setting up the song. From talking he jumps right into singing the song, with lyrics that amazingly, no one in the entire restaurant is in any way offended by while they dine. The song slowly builds up into a rant at the finale. After the rant, the song winds down with some more acoustic guitar, which finally gives way to some sporadic clapping.
Old Oak Tree, which follows my favorite song, is an old country diddy, with requisite banjo and other jug band influenced instruments. The vocals even take on a gruff country twang for this track. The song definitely stands out on the album for the difference in vocals and instrumentation, but the subject matter for the most part remains the same dirty lyrics as the other songs. After that song, Chico Ray goes back to his soft acoustic stylings with I'm Going to Fuck You. Another soothing ballad, with only the words that from the title. Suddenly though, near the end of the track, some very off tone singing joins in on the words. The song following this is another out of genre song, this time coming from a techno/electronica vibe. This song is mostly devoid of lyrics and sounds like a trippy journey through space, which probably explains the title, Revenge of the Robo Dick (Space Fucking). The next couple of tracks are more of the acoustic slow variety as the majority of the album. Then the second to last track, Holy Shit, changes up the pace again with the introduction of an ominous church organ as well as church choir like vocals, which repeat the name of the track throughout the song. The final song of the album The Depths, is the shortest track on the album at 1 and a half minutes. This song ends the album on the same note it began, with a simple acoustic track and soft vocals.
The album is well produced and very catchy, even with the dirty subject matter of EVERY SINGLE TRACK you will find it terribly hard not to get these songs stuck in your head. I have definitely never heard an album which made as much use of a parental advisory sticker as this one. As I said at the beginning of the review, if you are one who is not easily offended, this is definitely an album to check out.
Thanks to Mustin from Mustin Productions for sending the album down to GM4A for a review, and also thanks to Chico Ray for the amazing album. You can order the album as well as listen to a couple of Chico Ray's tracks over at myspace.com/chicoraymusic