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El Perro — Hair of El Perro
(Alive Natural Sound 0220, 2022, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2023-03-20

Hair of El Perro Cover art

Hair of El Perro is a tribute to the enduring appeal of The Riff in rock music. As old-time rock ‘n’ roll developed into psychedelic rock and the other flavors that appeared in the late 60s, many bands found that certain kinds of repeating patterns could really groove and hold interest for listeners. Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and others built up what came to be called hard rock, and later heavy metal. (Please excuse the simplification of history — I know there were many wrinkles to the path.) Guitarist Parker Griggs, who was in Radio Moscow, formed El Perro to explore a slightly different side of rock than his band had been doing. He recruited Radio Moscow drummer Lonnie Blanton, along with Shawn Davis (bass), Jaron Yancey (guitar), and Tawny Harrington (percussion), and the presence of a second guitar and full-time percussionist takes the music into a place that’s a little like Hendrix crossed with Santana (though without keyboards). There’s also a touch of funk in some of the rhythms. Griggs has a husky voice that’s perfect for belting out the bluesy melodies, and every one of the nine tracks is an energetic blast of timeless rock riffage. And the playing of both guitarists is outstanding — the distortion has more of the sound of classic amplifier overdrive than the generic fuzz of much metal. Blanton and Davis are a powerhouse rhythmic force, and I love the way they hit their accents on the “off” sixteenths. Griggs is a skilled songwriter who finds ways to evoke classic sounds while sounding original. If by-the-numbers rock has left you feeling hungover, a little Hair of El Perro should be the cure.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): El Perro

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