Ladies and gentlemen, we have a grower.
At first spin, Angel City Outcasts’ self-titled effort left little to consider, save for a bad aftertaste from the bawdy, cocksure swagger they seem to pride themselves on.
Strangely, though, the first impressions turned from slight annoyance to converse enjoyment. The one big reason: guitar leads! Main axeman Tak Boroyan doesn't just wail--he slices and dices with acute precision and an ear for melody that elevates every song his solos and searing leads touch. Whether it’s the warm, friendly licks of the opener “Five Guns West” or string-shredding “Sidewinder,” this album would have a fraction of its appeal without Boroyan leading the way.
What makes Angel City Outcasts stand out is precisely what will turn off many potential fans, and that’s the glam rock strut that would fit alongside River City Rebels or the Heartaches with a tinge of Southern punk rock à la River City High. The lyrics don’t help much either. You know the bit: “Stole my heart with a smile an’ a stare / Knocking me out with her platinum blonde hair / Come on tell me baby, please just say your mine / She wrapped her legs around and screamed one more time.”
That’s pretty much the worst of it, though it’s the general swank that persists through the 12 tracks of the disc. Some of the songs are still pretty damn good, however, like the duet “Hold One” and the acoustic ‘n’ auxiliary number “Wild Hearts” which sounds more like something from the Filthy Thieving Bastards. The closer “On My Way” is another of the album’s best tracks, and again features outstanding guitar playing that wows without ever getting excessive.
Fans of vivacious and vain rock ‘n’ roll will have no problems getting into the Angel City Outcasts’ self-titled release. But even the rest of the music-consuming public can find something to like after getting past the first few spins and adjusting to the forthright bravado the band exhibits.