Sleepy Gaucho “Morning Light” (Hear Here Records, 2020)

Morning Light’ is the second album by multi-instrumentalist Andy Goitia. This essentially appears to be a solo album giving Andy the space to explore sonic opportunities with the aid of friends, session musicians and most notably, Patrick Sansone of Wilco. Sleepy Gaucho is appropriately self-described as contemporary cowboy music, with their style being consistent with their name. The resultant sound is fuzzy-edged, dreamy psychedelic country music which sounds like it might have resulted had Gomez ever recorded a session with George Harrison.

Experimental is an easy term to bandy about when describing any music that pushes boundaries or stretches genre definitions. In the case of Sleepy Gaucho, it seems suitable given the range of genres that this album nudges up to without ever sitting too comfortably within any one. The result production combines elements of low-fi and psychedelic folk in an overall sound that is warm and harmonic throughout. The songs gently develop into a groove as instruments progressively slide in. The bass and drums are typically tight and funky with languid vocals and somewhat eclectic and disparate instruments including organ, mellotron and glockenspiel generating sweet harmonies on top.

Take Me for a Ride’ is upbeat with jangling rhythm and lap steel guitars combining to provide a classic country feel. ‘Lucy’ wistfully reflects on an enigmatic encounter. Speaking about the track, Goitia explains: “I’ve always thought there is a certain beauty to a brief encounter, someone you might catch eyes with but will probably never see again. That’s Lucy, wherever she is”. ‘Mr. Wick’ has a delightful hazy psychedelic low-fi vibe. ‘Starin’ Blank’ sits in its own smooth stoner lounge music groove, slightly abstracted from everyday life. Individually each song on the album has its own time and space that sensitively abuts its neighbours without jarring.

This work expands on the debut album ‘Another Time’ in which each of the individual songs remained more discreet in style. With ‘Morning Light’ the boundaries between songs have been blurred to produce a more distinctive overall vision in which the expanding selection of instruments are comfortably integrated. The production is professionally executed and the lyrics are hazy and ambiguous, resulting in a dreamlike and slightly melancholic feel to the album that leaves the precise interpretation of meaning firmly in the hands of the listener. Despite the apparently disparate range of influences, it retains a singularly effortless feel. Sleepy Gaucho have presented us with an alternative reality where time passes differently to the gritty present and it feels like a soft and gentle place in which it is distinctly pleasurable to linger.

A warm and dreamlike alternative reality of psychedelic country folk awaits
7/10

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