With Heavy Ornamentals, The Gourds welcome you back to their porch for another drink from the jug and another helping of critic-confounding musical gumbo. Led by a pair of songwriting savants in the vein of Doug Sahm and Lowell George, The Gourds create an infectious blend of rock, country, Zydeco, soul, Tex-Mex, folk and blues that leaves the Washington Post saying, "It's hard to resist the contagious good time that the band seems to be having on every song. Eleven Thirty. 2006.
Time-warped and roots-twisted, the Gourds sound like a good-time band from a parallel universe, one that puts traditional instrumentation--mandolin, accordion, fiddle--behind lyrics that dissolve the distinctions between the elliptical, the enigmatic, and the absurd. "Burn the Honeysuckle" and "Hooky Junk" suggest the Band on psychedelic mushrooms, while "Shake the Chandelier" finds the Austin quintet paying Tex-Mex homage to the late, great Doug Sahm and his Sir Douglas Quintet. For all the twists and loops, the band's organic interplay is rarely less than engaging, from the kick-start propulsion of the album-opening "Declineometer" through the wistful balladry of "Our Patriarch." It may be hard to know what the music means, but it's difficult to resist how it feels. --Don McLeese