Grey Hound Soul
"Alma de Galgo"

(808 Records 2001)Grey Hound Soul - Alma de Galgo

Greyhound Soul's 2001 release, Alma De Galgo, is a well blended mix of styles and elements with driving piano and guitar, all led by raspy vocals. Unlike other bands that pick one sound and stick with it, Greyhound Soul picks one sound and plays it a variety of ways.

"Love Don't Rain," the opening track, gets your attention with its jazzy yet still rock guitar and rollicking piano parts as the Joe Cocker-sounding vocals, slightly garbled in parts, start. The plinking piano part accents the background, producing a fun sound that makes you want to get up and dance. The George Harrison-inspired slide guitar, on tracks like "Roll On," is more relaxed with a certain flow while "Nothin'," with its simple yet understated melody, blends a country sound in a classic way. The fourth track, "Alligator Face," is a stand out on the album. With its drawn out vocals, reminiscent of Tom Waits, "Alligator Face" remains mellow for most of the song, building up to a rich, full closing. Piano and a thick, distorted sounding guitar compliment each other, going back and forth several times during the song's solo. While in "Hold My Heart," the drumming becomes oddly weak during an awkward solo followed by singer Joe Pena screeching in the background until the close of the song.

Using an organ to add sustained notes, "Shoes," blends country with religious undertones. A distant and distorted guitar solo adds a nice texture and dimension to the song. "You might someday have to fly/Look that old needle in the eye/But you ain't learned how to fall/I ain't gonna fall down too," Pena sings in the unique "Shoes." The first of two "epic," nearly eight minute songs, "Whole" has a modern, jazzy, open-ended jam feel to it. Building up, the song picks up and adds a slick guitar riff. "I'll Never Know," meanwhile, begins as a ballad, similar to earlier ones but with a twist to it. The song has a mellow, soft rock feel to it before quickly adding a grungy jam for a quick moment. While the build up does die down, the section shows another side to Greyhound Soul; a side that will, hopefully, be explored in the future. Closing with the mainly acoustic guitar and drums, "Love Me Bad," is Greyhound Soul going out with a quiet, contented sigh.

Alma de Galgo offers two hidden tracks following the tenth track. The first hidden track, "El Conejo," is a twangy George Harrison meets country instrumental. The second, "Reckless Heart," is another mellow song but much quieter than others on the album. The song quickly fills, however, and has a lazy, country-waltz sound that, like the build up in "I'll Never Know," fades all too soon - but not before presenting an excellent and classic sounding guitar solo.

The beautiful and understated melodies are nostalgic of the 1970s while the gruff, sometimes hoarse vocals blend Cocker and Waits and the piano and guitar stand out on both the rollicking tunes and the ballads. Greyhound Soul's Alma de Galgo is a melting pot with strong and original results. You'd think Greyhound Soul are nearly 10 years too late to find commercial success, with similar sounding bands being now merely memories, but there's something that warms your heart when they have rock songs that last longer than two minutes.

A-

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