Record Review: Tommy Guerrero

by | Mar 1, 2011 | Reviews

Tommy Guerrero
Lifeboats and Follies
San Francisco, CA

“A true original from the sk8 alternaverse”

One of California’s true originals, Tommy Guerrero has evolved from a skate punk to a prolific recording artist. Originally a member of the old school skateboarding gang “The Bones Brigade,” Guerrero knows cool. It’s what he does. Adept at mixing a variety of jazz, ambient, and hip-hop styles, he’s come up with a signature, soulful and chill sound. Lifeboats and Follies, his fifth studio album, continues that tradition.

The record kicks off with “Yerba Buena Bump.” With bouncing hi-hat hits, a light snare and tremolo guitar lines punctuated by slick trumpet melodies, it’s a great start to Lifeboats. After some disappointing filler, the album picks back up again with “Bullfights on Broadway,” a laid back, funky number reminiscent of his work on Return of the Bastard. “The Last Maverick” may be coolest and catchiest track on Lifeboats and Follies. Mixed with some well-placed delay, “Maverick” is a perfect song to be driving along the coast to, sunglasses on, top down. It’s pure California.

“Puesta del Sol” continues that vibe, leading into “On the West,” a jazzier tune with fat guitar licks and a slinky trumpet that darts in and out, playing chicken with the melody line. A hidden little gem, “The Lonely and the Only,” could be considered a Latin-tinged lost love song, and while it starts out with that vibe, it soon transforms into a ’60s lounge throwback that’s a bit unexpected, but still appreciated. (Galaxia Recordings)

Guest players include Marc Capelle, Tony Sevener, Fredo Ortiz, Amber Lamprecht, Monte Vallier, Matt Rodriguez and Money Mark

-Dana Forsythe