Lorenzo Goetz, Jesus Elephant

Open the jewel case for Jesus Elephant to find just that: a pachyderm with a halo, or more specifically, a cartoon pachyderm with a cartoon halo. The merry pranksters of Lorenzo Goetz maintain this same angelic appearance amid original material such as “Flagrante Delicto (3some).” The challenge for a Lorenzo Goetz album is to stand on its own, even if no studio recording can compare to the bacchanalian revelry that makes Lorenzo Goetz such a popular concert draw.
Nor can a single song epitomize the pudding of pop, hip hop, Brit and stoner rock, and mariachi that more or less is Lorenzo Goetz, although “Muy Macho” and “Flagrante Delicto (3some)” come close. Two sides of the same coin, the former is coy and buoyant and signals that this album means business, while the latter is a sultry slow-burner that conjures images of some Gypsy tea parlor an hour inland from the Mediterranean.
The rest of Jesus Elephant leans more toward standard pop. Most fun is “Several Days Away,” an ebullient number new to the live set and prime single material despite colorful language. “Jesus Elephant,” the title track and lead single, sounds like a one-off collaboration between The Flaming Lips and Grandaddy, except that Larry Gates has a stronger voice than Jason Lytle. The one misfire is “Buddah,” a hip-hop track so overshadowed by guest talent that any musical link to Lorenzo Goetz is unrecognizable until the three-minute mark.
Jesus Elephant is a good album, fuller and overall more focused than what preceded it. If only it better reflected the chemistry and spontaneity of Lorenzo Goetz, it would defy easy categorization as local or regional music. Even so, it is a welcome menu or tour manual for the next trip.

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