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Guantanamo Baywatch's new album Desert Center opens with "Conquistador", an instrumental track displaying enough fretboard savvy and fiery twang to make The Challengers proud.
But any notion that Guantanamo Baywatch is strictly adhering to one facet of rock n' roll's classic era is dispelled by the soulful swagger and unabashed pop of "Neglect".
It's an inadvertent juxtaposition maintained through the entirety of Desert Center, with blazing instrumental nuggets like "The Scavenger" alternating with the proto-grunge and golden oldies mash-up of a track like "Blame Myself." Like their 2015 album Darling\\'e2?\\'a6 It's Too Late, Desert Center was primarily tracked in Atlanta at Living Room Recording with Justin McNeight and Ed Rawls, with Jason Powell doing the bulk of the guitar tracks on his own at Jungle Muscle Studios.
While Guantanamo Baywatch initially made a name for themselves with their early blown-out recordings, Desert Center retains the raw aesthetics of a Hasil Adkins single, but has the added heft and thump afforded by a modern studio.
This balance is perhaps best captured on their lead single "Video", where bassist Chevelle Wiseman drives the tune with a thick, throbbing riff while drummer Chris Scott ruthlessly pounds his kit with a crashing clarity guaranteed to please even the most snobby analog audiophile.