Anyone finding themselves in the alarming situation of having to discuss which modern day roots-rock bands would be “greatest” would surely namedrop Los Lobos. The appeal of the Los Angeles five-piece, who’ve been together for a staggering 37 years, is widespread. The countless awards they’ve received, including the odd Grammy or two, vouch for their commercial (and critical) acclaim. Following their last album of four years ago, The Town And The City, they return with Tin Can Trust, their 13th studio effort. That number might be unlucky for some, but for these longstanding veterans the resulting output can be summed up in three words: ‘business as usual’.
There’s no turning away or deviating from the sound that made them an internationally established band. It’s 11 songs of rock with influences as wide-ranging as the blues, country and, most prevalent, the excitable sounds of Latin America that will comfort those long-time fans yet offer a straightforward starting point for newcomers too.
It’s wonderfully diverse in sound and shows off their dynamic output. The title track is a relaxing number, at its songwriting core almost a campfire song, propelled as it is by acoustic guitar, but is given life with blues solos and friendly bursts of brass. Do The Murray is a bustling piece of jamming by people who know how to do it without boring the listener to death.
Admist all the guitar noodlefests and jammorama, All My Bridges Burning is a blues ballad that has a simple and catchy torchlight chorus (“All my bridges burning/Almost burning down/All my bridges burning/Burning to the ground”) and is a standout moment of songwriting. There is also a very good cover of West LA Fadeaway, originally by the Grateful Dead, to boot. Other songs like The Lady And The Rose punctuate the album with laid-back moments.
All in all, the 45 or so minutes of pretty competent music here doesn’t feel too showboaty or overly eager to impress. It’s the record of a band who have plenty of experience, a good track record and know what makes a good album. For the last few weeks of summer it’s a pleasing listen, and Los Lobos sound exactly what they are – a band who could probably crank out songs of such consistent quality in their sleep.