Old Californio: Sundrunk Angels

There’s something endearing about a handwritten note in a promo or review album copy. And that’s what this writer found in Old Californio’s Sundrunk Angels. Some might see it as currying favor, but when an album is this strong, no note is really necessary.

Having performed with The Sadies, Dave Alvin and others, Old Californio sounds like a cross between The Jayhawks and Calexico on the warm, roots-y “Learn To Cheat” that chugs along perfectly. And it’s that laid-back summery feel fueling a good portion of this record on “A Cool Place In The Light” with a Southern tinge to it a la The Byrds with some fine guitar work to close. This also comes evident later on during “Jewels And The Dross” as it resembles a Laurel Canyon hoedown.

The harmonies on most of the songs are crucial, with “Dark Fire” giving way to a lazy, almost Floydian dreamy title track that seems to work quite well surprisingly. However the band get back to a rock-oriented format with the cool, confident “Allon Camerado” that teasingly brims just to the surface before breaking down and starting all over again until gloriously breaking out down the homestretch. Following a gentle “Unsatisfied” featuring more Eagles-esque harmonies and Rich Dembowski on harmonica, Old Californio close with “Come Tomorrow” tanother alt-country winner.  Note to band: mighty grateful you sent this way.

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