Titling your debut album Greatest Hits could be considered either the height of arrogance or an ironic joke. I'm guessing the fact that The Tangelos have named their CD Greatest Hits—when it contains music that harkens to old-school (and decidedly Old Pueblo) musical values of melody, groove and quality playing—is a savvy, self-deprecating move.
There's a careful balance of folk-rock, soul and country in these 11 tunes, written by singer and guitarist Joshua Butcher. The funky hippie/urban-cowboy vibe reminds me of the music of 1970s Tucson troubadours Jerry Riopelle and Bob Meighan, as evidenced by brawny acoustic rocking on "Too Much Cuervo," "Ticket to Memphis" and "Nothing Is All I Need."
"Heaven Will Have to Wait" is one of the best examples of this combination. As Butcher croons about morality, mortality, the passing of time and accepting change, the band increases the tension with a charmingly dramatic 1980s-style rock build: Rubbery bass and muscular electric guitars drift in from the background to frame Butcher's acoustic guitar in the fore.
Sometimes, such as on "Must I Give It All," "Alone" or "Cashin In," Butcher sings in a hushed baritone, as if he's waxing melancholy under a neon moon à la Garth Brooks or George Strait—then Robin Messing slides her harmonies in under the radar to bring an added richness to the melody. The results are lovely.