Considerably thicker in sound than their self-titled debut, Sacred, the sophomore effort from the three Garza brothers (Henry on guitar, JoJo on bass, and Ringo, obviously, on drums), mixes even more of their hodgepodge musical influences into Los Lonely Boys’ brand of MOR adult pop. From the mariachi horns on opener “My Way” to the immediately recognizable harmony vocals from Willie Nelson on “Outlaws,” there’s a breadth of styles represented on Sacred that makes Los Lonely Boys at least marginally more distinctive than other Hot AC staples like Goo Goo Dolls or Lifehouse. That they’ve arranged their vocal tracks in a way that recalls The Louvin Brothers and that Henry’s guitar riffs on this album owe as much to Stevie Ray Vaughan as to latter-day Carlos Santana also help in that regard. And what makes Los Lonely Boys easy to root for is that there’s a palpable sense of joy to Sacred: the anti-rockstar humility that the brothers display in their interviews actually comes across in their music as well, and their gratitude and enthusiasm for having an audience at all builds up considerable good will. But, for their likeability and their obvious technical chops, what ultimately sinks Sacred is the Garza brothers’ songwriting. Even with lyrics as cliché-driven as those of songs like “My Way,” “Memories,” “One More Day,” and “Living My Life”—truly, there’s not a song on the album that hasn’t been written better a hundred times over, and with more memorable hooks—it’s all the more disappointing that Los Lonely Boys seem incapable of compensating for those lyrics with a stand-out melody. It’s to the band’s credit, again, that they can perform such meandering, aimless melodies and sing such uninspired words with the skill and enthusiasm that they do, but there’s simply no masking material this weak.
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