You want a meaty storyline, Gravy Flavored Kisses got one: “The Ballad of Edgar Valdez,” the six-minute finale of their four-song EP, tells the true story of a Texas high-school football hero who became a notorious Mexican drug lord, leaving hundreds of mangled bodies and severed heads in his wake. It’s a grisly and sordid tale—in other words, the perfect thing for a party anthem. The band throws in everything it has—heavy guitar riffs (and one shredder solo), heavier horn lines and many soft-to-loud-to-louder shifts—and co-singer Jinyoung Park chimes in with a chorus of “He’s a bad, bad man!” And did we mention that the opening guitar riff is a hoedown version of Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick”? Well, it is.
This is clearly a band that wants your attention, and the songs on this disc deserve it. Though a roots-rock act at heart, Gravy Flavored Kisses’ raucous delivery evinces the parties they’ve probably played; and their funk smacks more of the Chili Peppers than the Meters. It’s the songwriting that lifts them above the norm, especially the offbeat lyric angles: “When I Make It to Jackson” makes the most of their co-ed lead singers (Jared Castellaw and Park) as a couple of strangers arrange a tryst via the internet. In “Middle of the Night Blues,” it takes a mere three minutes for the singer to get from missing his love to gunning down the guy who took her away. Only the title track stays in more modest territory—a moody tune about the mixed emotions that a letter from an old friend might prompt. It starts with a Morphine-esque noir feel before the horn riffage kicks in.
The band puts out enough energy that any frat party would be glad to have them. But anyone who catches some lyrics on the way to the keg is bound to do a double take.