Katy Guillen & the Girls

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Katy Guillen & the Girls
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<div><span>Normally when I discover a band for the first time, I listen to their album first, then go see them live. In the case of </span><a href="kgandthegirls"><span>Katy Guillen &amp; The Girls&rsquo;</span></a><span> new release, the situation's been reversed. I saw them live a couple of times before the album was released, so I was interested to hear if the record was going to capture the ferocity of their live performances. I have to confess that my hearing is not in the best of shape, and, due to a poor sound mix at what shall be an unnamed Lawrence venue, I never got to hear the words or even the melodies properly live at the most recent concert I attended. But upon hearing the self-titled LP, it&rsquo;s nice to hear that Guillen can write literate lyrics to these songs I've heard played out. </span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span>The album opener, &quot;Don't Get Bitter,&quot; hearkens back to the sound and feel of the Beatles' &quot;Taxman,&quot; with Claire Adams' bass introducing the song. It's short, catchy, and lasts exactly as long as it should. If there were a single release off this album, this would be it. </span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span>This record is no-frills. It's the band pretty much as you hear them live, with the mix capturing a live in-studio sound. What strikes me listening to this record is that Katy and the Girls are not strictly a blues band. There's certainly an infusion of the blues in what they do, but, to my ears, they hearken back to some of the late &lsquo;60s-early &lsquo;70s hard rock bands like Mountain and Free, but with better lyrics and songs. I also hear some White Stripes in there somewhere. The melodies and harmonies are accentuated and they help blend with the powerful playing. </span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span>Katy Guillen, Claire Adams, and <a href="http://kansascity.thedelimagazine.com/10163/on-beat-stephanie-williams">Stephanie Williams</a> fill up a lot of space in these songs. It's obvious they are all very well in sync and have that great intuitive blend that comes from playing lots of live gigs together. I also like the changes in some of the songs, which go in directions you don't expect, like &quot;Woke Up In Spain,&quot; which switches tempo adroitly. </span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><span>The absolute masterpiece of this album is the last song, &ldquo;Earth Angel.&rdquo; It's the longest tune on the album, but it doesn't feel long. It starts out with Guillen&rsquo;s dirty-sounding guitar intro, reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix's &quot;Little Wing,&quot; and builds in intensity as it moves along. Guillen takes one hell of a solo during this song. It's obvious from hearing this record that she is an excellent guitarist but never overplays during the songs. But when the song calls for a lengthy solo, like &quot;Earth Angel,&quot; sparks fly. The rest of the band is equally as adept. Adams&rsquo; bass lines are nimble and fit right in place with Williams&rsquo; active drum work. It's a pleasure to hear a band that obviously loves to play together rolling through these songs. The album&rsquo;s producer (Duane Trower at <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Weights-and-Measures-Soundlab/124412430956864">Weights &amp; Measures Soundlab</a>) captures the clarity of the music as well as the power of a live performance. </span></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <p><b><span>--Barry Lee</span></b><span><br /> <br /> </span></p>