Never try to outguess a band’s music solely based on its name. Dr. C & the Gris Gris isn’t the latest, emerging New Orleans–styled party funk bunch but rather a Lafayette hard rock trio influenced by Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine. Dr. Ryan Cazares, the band’s Dr. C namesake, wrote these 11 originals with his guitar playing being the sonic centerpiece. The album is densely packed with textures and tones that constantly shift between sludgy, heavy, searing and distorted, all rendered with myriad effects. On most tracks Cazares dubbed in a second guitar for a full-frontal onslaught.
There’s often an outlaw-ish ambience to Cazares’ songwriting (“The Saloon,” “Fuckin’ Gone”). “Song to Sing” feels a little more personal—a struggling songwriter battling writer’s block because his life is devoid of a certain someone. But in the end, Cazares seems most content spending time with his beloved axe, as evidenced on “Play Guitar,” the disc’s best string shredder, replete with space-traveling effects. Whereas indy hard rock albums are often unbalanced and overly loud, engineer Chad Fouquier did a commendable job in pulling it all together for a tight, crisp sound. No hexes here.