Album Review: The Jagaloons’ “Walk, Don’t Run, For The Border”

ALBANY – An album that is over before you know it, Walk, Don’t Run, For The Border, by The Jagaloons is, simply put, a fantastic record. Released on Oct. 13, and rife with blistering riffs and pounding energy, the short EP blends together, as is typical for the genre, several musical cultures ranging from the Middle East, to Spain, with the lynchpin being Western-type harmonies.

“Baja Blast,” features a lone guitar riff that starts the album, and a tightly played drum roll sound starts pounding in. Soon after, the whole band enters. What follows is an extremely fun tune, chock-full of well-executed pushes and pulls of rhythm. The band plays fantastically well together, and the frequent – albeit subtle – changes to the melodic lines throughout the piece keep the listener engaged from start-to-finish. Near the end of the song, the guitar and drums play off one another, before the guitar features one last musical statement as the song concludes.

“Cinnamon Twist,” the second track, begins in a similar fashion; the presence of the keyboard helps to change things up. The two guitar parts are arranged in such a way that really complement one another; at times it’s hard to determine which is the lead and which is the supporting part. What I really like in this song, is how the drums, at certain times, are playing the exact rhythms as one of the guitars – it really helps to tighten up and gel the entire piece together. On top of that, some of the tremolo picking is highly reminiscent of Dick Dale’s work and playing style.

Moving right along, up next is track three, “Chalupacabra.” The phenomenally rich textures of baritone guitars really stick out on this track. Finding that nice register between a bass and standard electric guitar, the baritone part produces such a nice, warm, and fat tone in between. Like the other songs, the drums on this are dynamic and crisp, and support the instrumentation nicely.

Diverting quite a bit from the other tracks, the closing song, “Nacho Boyfriend,” features a chord progression, and a much calmer energy. There’re lots of genres that blend together under surf-rock, and this song is a great example of that – a lot of the melodic concepts are Spanish influenced, such as the harmonic minor scale. Between that, and the gentle coaxing of the guitar’s whammy bar to create a dreamy atmosphere, this song is the perfect closer on an EP that leaves this listener yearning for more.

An album whose track titles are humorously derived from menu items at Taco Bell, Walk, Don’t Run, For The Border, is a thoroughly fun and enjoyable record. The only complaint on my end is that the collection is so short! I’ll definitely be adding this to my rotation of music. Check it out for yourself here!

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