REVIEW: Nocona Provides the Soundtrack for a Night in the Desert with “Los Dos”


When you see the press photo of Nocona on the band’s website, you’ll see that the members if nothing else were influenced by the fashion of Flying Burrito Brothers. And yes, it may leave you wondering where you can find threads like that.

You don’t have to listen to much of the new album Los Dos to realize that while the band might also be influenced by the sound of Flying Burrito Brothers, there is much more to it than that.

There is a definite component of the Bakersfield sound with the pedal steel. “Free Throw” in particular bears the sound not only with the pedal steel, but also with a melody that could easily have been a part of a song by The Byrds. In fact, the melody and the vocals in that song are also reminiscent of Buffalo Killers.

You’ll also hear a punk component on this album. One good example is in the opening track “Stabby Mike.” The guitar and vocals in this song sound heavily influenced by Pixies. The punk influence can also be heard in the rhythms. “Chester”, for example, features a beat like the ones that have driven Old 97s songs for a long time.

On the surface “Never Come Back” is an upbeat tune that will make you want to show off your best two-stepping. The melody is enough to get you dancing, and it belies the dark nature of the lyrics. There are plenty of memorable lines in the song, but the one that stands out is, “If I’m ever around your love again, make sure my straitjacket isn’t stained.”

The band also includes a fair amount of 70s boogie rock into its sound. It is prominent in the guitar and piano in “Too Much to Lose” and in the instrumental break of “Unseen Hand,” which also includes a healthy dose of psychedelia.

Nocona keeps you guessing on this album – to the point that if you were browsing a record store, you wouldn’t be surprised to find this in the alt-country section or the psychedelic section. Perhaps it deserves its own label. Something along the lines of “soundtrack for a night in the desert.” Los Dos will be available on July 10. Order your copy here.


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