Shake It Up – “Llama Rhymes” review

Chandler Travis Philharmonic
Llama Rhymes – (Sonic Trout)

As good a time as most NRBQ records, friends (and not only because Joey Spampinato appears on a track).

A good time is what’s promised here, but note that Llama Rhymes isn’t some mere novelty record. Sure, things can get a little wacky but Travis can indeed write a melody that can get you either singing along or inspire you to get up on the dance floor (living room floor, bedroom floor, whatever). “Village Of The Darned” is testimony to this, from it’s memorable hooks to it’s hooky chorus. “Sha La La (Lover’s Heart)” perfectly melds pop and ska, while “You Hurt Me” is a hypnotic piece of pop with some really inspired guitar effects. “Did You Ever Know” deserves special mention as well – heck, this one could’ve been a Costello outtake circa Imperial Bedroom.

The gang rock out harder on “Weasel Don’t Be Mean”, and also make fine use of a great horn section. Actually, the horns on Lllama Rhymes deserve much attention – alternating from a loose dixieland feel (“My Old Man”) to adding controlled chaos to songs like “Fluffy”. As you can tell by the song tiles, there’s a lot of fun to be had here as well.

A most pleasant surprise. Prepare to be hooked.

(* * * out of 5)

Claudio Sossi

Shake It Up – “Llama Rhymes” review