Solid country rock with memorable melodies and tight harmonies.
Restos is a band born from the ashes of well established Texan outfit, Western Youth. All five members of Restos were members of (six-piece) Western Youth. The word Restos, which means “remains” in Spanish, therefore seems an appropriate band name. The band members; Graham Weber (vocals and guitar), Mark Nathan (lead guitar), Chris Spencer (bass), Sam Powell (keys) and Brian Bowe (drums) are augmented on four of the tracks by Jaimee Harris, who lends vocal assistance and whose album ‘Boomerang Town’ we reviewed earlier in the year here on AUK.
‘Ain’t Dead Yet’ was recorded at Public Hi-Fi and Scary American studios in Austin. Self-produced, it was engineered by Charles Godfrey who has previously worked with the likes of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, Whiskey Myers and Dropkick Murphys. The sound quality suits the music, allowing the rhythm section and guitar riffs to drive the songs, while highlighting jangly guitars and allowing the tight harmonies to shine through. Nine of the album’s 10 tracks are originals, written or co-written by band members, who cite The Byrds, The Heartbreakers and Wilco among influences, some of which are clearly evident at times.
Album opener ‘Wild Heart‘, is a tribute to friend of the band, Austin-based singer and songwriter Chris Porter who, along with bass player Mitchell Vanderburg, was tragically killed in a road accident whilst touring as members of Porter and the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes, in October 2016.
There is a poignancy to lyrics such as:
“You left it all
Out there on the road
Your soul’s still somewhere out there on stage
Or so I’ve been told
Got a wild heart
I’ll see you at the show”
As the album progresses, tracks three and four, the singles ‘Ain’t Dead Yet‘ and ‘Wild as the Wind‘ (both featuring Harris’ vocals) bring a real Tom Petty vibe to the proceedings, which is no bad thing. ‘Faded Love‘ reminds one of the Jayhawks, with its melodic harmonies (Harris’ vocals are again featured). The other single, ‘Thinking of You‘ is the album’s standout cut – it again brings to mind Tom Petty, particularly in terms of the vocals. ‘Your One‘ changes the dynamic, bringing a slower pace and introducing strings to good effect. Album closer ‘Time‘ picks up the tempo once more to end on an upbeat note musically, if not lyrically; where it’s quite reflective:
“Has time been chasing you
Time’s been changing me
Time changed you some too”
There’s nothing here that could be considered ground-breaking or genre-defining in any way, but that doesn’t detract from an enjoyable listen. If your musical tastes include some of the musical influences noted above, then you’re likely to find something to enjoy here.