Think of it as making up for lost time, but after 20 years in hibernation, the Krayolas have cranked out their third album in two years (counting the 2007 singles retrospective, Best Riffs Only) with Long Leaf Pine (no smack gum).
The new album immediately stands out as the most adventurous effort from this veteran band, both lyrically and sonically. For one thing, it’s quite a challenge to power-pop orthodoxy to open with two grisly songs about murder.
More crucially, the bilingual success of their cover of Augie Meyers’ “Little Fox” seems to have inspired Hector Saldaña and his mates to deeply embrace their SA roots. The West Side Horns blast away on much of the album, and accordion and bajo sexto also spice up the band’s guitar-bass-drums lineup. They’ve never sounded more distinctly South Texan than they do on the wild drug-cartel-carnage ballad, “Corrido Twelve Heads in a Bag,” unless it’s on the Woodlawn Lake love letter, “Chola Song.” My personal favorite is a sensitive, twangy take on “It’s Gonna Be Easy,” an Atwood Allen song often performed by Doug Sahm.
The album hits stores on Tuesday, March 3, and the band will promote it with a slew of SXSW appearances.