Courtesy of the Mobile Register
Working boys: Gigolos release second album
Friday, December 17, 2004
By LAWRENCE SPECKER
The Gigolos are making it look easy.
A year and a half ago, not long after releasing their debut CD, “25th and Holloway,” the Friday Night Gigolos already were talking about their plans for a more accomplished second album. And here it is.
The disc, “For a Good Time Call …”, should arrive any day now. The official CD release event is an open party Dec. 23 at Club Z in Biloxi’s Palace Casino Resort; band members say there’s “a good possibility” they’ll have copies in hand for tonight’s show at Soul Kitchen.
The group, which hails from “Pass-Point” area of the Mississippi Gulf Coast (that’s the Pascagoula-Pass Christian metropolitan statistical area, for those puzzling over maps), appears to have pulled off the kind of sophomore album bands dream of.
“For A Good Time” maintains the group’s strengths — a happy-go-lucky vibe, clear lyrics and accessible, straight-ahead rock arrangements in cluding saxophone — and wraps them in a tighter, better integrated, more professional package.
Any second album should sound like the work of a group that’s had more time to find its groove, get focused about what it’s trying to do, and apply its skills to that goal. This one does.
It’s hard to apply the word “mature” to a band that used to seem one fluke hit away from being the Gulf Coast’s answer to the Spin Doctors. And in fact, the Gigolos seem to be enjoying themselves as much as ever. They’ll only hint about the extracurricular goings-on at the Thunder Sound studio in Ocean Springs, where most of the disc was recorded.
But there’s plenty of reason to think that there’s a lot of hard work, and careful thought, behind the feel-good appearances. Perhaps most notably, “For a Good Time” never sounds like the work of a rock band with some saxophone tacked on, or a sax-driven band with a guitarist dueling for spotlight time.
Instead, saxophonist Damon Garcia’s playing is woven into the Gigolos sound. Sometimes he takes the lead, sometimes he adds color while the guitars come to the foreground with a bigger sound than on “25th and Holloway,” but either way, his instrument always is a fundamental part of the mix.
Lead guitarist Charley Cook is relatively new to the band; in February, with recording already begun, he replaced longtime member Joseph Felts, who now is attending the Mississippi College School of Law, band members said. Felts can be heard on four tracks, members said, with Cook on the rest.
The rest of the group, as before, consists of vocalist and rhythm guitarist David Lynn, bassist Jay McIlwain, drummer Benji Alford and Garcia. Cook said he didn’t come in cold, having known members of the group since their high school days.
One other significant change is that, one way or another, all the members of the group are done with college studies for the time being. In addition to giving them more time for the music, it’s allowed them to expand their touring range throughout the South. They’re playing as far away as Arkansas, North Carolina and Texas; they’ve played the House of Blues in New Orleans and done shows with Galactic.
Lynn and McIlwain both classed “For A Good Time” as being “a lot more personal” than their previous album.
“It’s still got a lot of fun stuff,” Lynn said. “But it touches on some serious topics.”
One example would be a song inspired by a friend’s drug overdose. But if the heavier material shows the band in a more serious mode, it’s still a long way from somber. The same with “Gold Digger,” a song that turns around some negative energy, putting it in a slinky, catchy number worthy of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
Another hint that the band is approaching its job as a craft is that “For a Good Time” features two songs that appeared on the previous album, “She’s in My Head” and “25th and Holloway.” The new recordings compare so favorably with the old ones that there shouldn’t be any question about the group’s decision to repeat itself.
“We beefed ’em up a little,” said McIlwain.
Lynn is the principal writer, the Gigolos say. If pressed, he will use terms like the “craft” of songwriting, but he’s quick to say the songs are a band product.
“I just make the skeleton, you know,” he said.
The band appears to be capitalizing on its opportunities. After “25th and Holloway,” the group earned the attention of 3 Doors Down guitarist Chris Henderson. One song produced by Henderson, “Don’t Say,” yielded a video that played on College Television Network and MTV2 after making the Top 10 of a national contest.
The group seems to have no shortage of energy or material. In fact, McIlwain said the group already has enough material for its third album.
On Dec. 21 they’ll play a going-away concert for troops at Mississippi’s Camp Shelby. (Mobile’s Phar Fletcher also is on the bill for that show.)
It’s all part of keeping it rolling, Gigolo style, and keeping it building.
“We haven’t started going backward yet,” Lynn said. “We understand that we are entertainers. That’s what we do.”
“For A Good Time Call …” can be ordered at www.awarestore.com. Band members said it should be available soon at Satori Coffee in Mobile. For more information on the band, visit www.fridaynightgigolos.com.