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SONGS FOR MILO
Songs for Milo guides the listener through a desolate soundscape of reverb laden guitars and ghostly keyboards, intertwined with Medrano's distinct voice. You could say it feels like Tom Waits meets Built to Spill, but in truth, Gypsy Cab's album is more than the sum of its parts.
The opening track, featuring epic guitar licks interwoven with drummer Shawn Alderette's subtle percussion, gives way to an intense chorus dominated by giant cymbal crashes and waves of distortion.
Gypsy Cab's overall tone is reminiscent of Modest Mouse - the Seattle band's now familiar "sad in a happy sort of way" catharsis is prevalent throughout the course of the album. The second track of Songs for Milo is just that, a rainy day sort of song that could have been inspired by either Otis Redding or Isaac Brock, who knows? The song's lyrics are so depressing it is sick, "Only in the dangerous hours/Does the missing limb still ache", but Medrano's melodies are so sweet that you end up walking away from the stereo feeling bouyant.
Most compellingly, Gypsy Cab manages to subtely incorporate elements of Country and Tejano into the album. These non-rock influences are most apparent in tracks like "Donde Esta Waltz". Slide guitars imitate the piercing cry of Norteño accordion playing and Nashville pedal steel at the same time. Meanwhile Medrano's light hearted vocal ad-libs sound like the back-up vocal takes to some lost narco-corridor. When Medrano sings "Donde Esta Mi Amor?" I challenge the most jaded world-music-weary listener not to get excited.
Songs for Milo concludes with the ballad "Crush the Sea". Interspersed with Alderette's timpani-like tom are delicate string arrangements. These deliciously quiet moments are perfectly paired with discordant and virtuoso guitar playing -- this is Gypsy Cab at its best, when Medrano writes compositions that serve equally well as drinking songs or make out songs. The pensive lyrics, "You don't want to lose again/stay away from him as long as you can," makes perfect sense whether you're making a move on your parent's sofa or lying semi-conscious on the floor of a downtown bar.
Hopefully everyone won't stay too far away from this album, as it is a good one.
Songs for Milo is now available for sale at Fresno's Tower Records store.