The Deal: Texas hill-grass-a-billy innovators reinvent themselves once again.
The Good: The Gourds' latest, Noble Creatures, is more musically well-rounded than a lot of their previous efforts, best classified as psychedelic bluegrass. There's no hick-hop on this one, no reminder these are the guys who brought you the best rendition of Snoop Dog's "Gin and Juice" ever recorded. This time out it sounds like the Texas twangers got a good dose of Doug Sham. "Kicks in the Sun" sounds like a gospel camp meeting in Mexico led by pastor Sahm. "The Gryroscopic" sounds like it could have been lifted from Sahm's Texas Tornado days, replete with Augie Myers organ riffs. But just when you think you've got these guys figured out, they'll turn on you. "A Few Extra Kilos" sounds like vintage Dead. "Spivey" resembles something from the Mississippi Hill country, a spooky blues you might expect from Junior Kimbrough. "Cranky Mulatto" is a funky zydeco number concerning a devil in a tree -- or something of that nature. With these guys, a guess at the lyrics is as good as it gets.
The Bad: If you come to a Gourds record expecting a particular sound, you're always gonna be disappointed.
The Verdict: Roll with it. No matter what road they take, these guys always make for interesting ride.