Guillermo Sexo was born in early 2004 from
the sometimes twisted, always strange minds of Jess Barnett and Reuben Bettsak. The two started the band with the desire to create well-crafted songs with major rhythms. In 2007 most of the original members left the band except for Reuben Bettsack. He joined forces with singer Noell Dorsey and the new era of Guillermo Sexo was born. Some of their collective influences are Hugo Largo, Roy Orbison, John Fahey, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Patti Smith, the Cocteau Twins, Guided by Voices, the Police, Love, Sonic Youth, Velvet Underground, and an array of Cuban music.
“Oh Wow,” the 10-song, debut album by Guillermo Sexo, is out now, and the Sexos want you to listen. The band describes their sound as Panamanian sex rock, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. Take the rawness of Barnett's Siouxsie Sioux-inspired vocals, combine it with Bettsak’s psychedelic, noisy guitar riffs and the mad beats of a Police-obsessed drummer (Mark Fede), and add the loud, solid bass sounds brought by Sean Sprecher, and you have a close approximation of the Sexo sound. The album mixes French, Spanish, and English lyrics with both bright melodies and dark lyrics, creating a world that’s hectic, eerie, and deliberate.
Slicing straight down the middle of a Shins/-Strokes sandwich, the sexy Guillermo Sexo easily satisfied my urge for slick-indie-garage-pop soda—to wash down my Shins/Strokes sandwich. Not to pigeon hole these fine lads, commitment to artistic freedom: Vivid Nights took me on a magic carpet ride to galactic ecstasy. From the chaotic alterna-Brit sounds of the opening track “Solo Aches” to the ’70s, flower-power styling of “Crossbow,” I’m simply delighted. As I run to my closet to fetch my smoking jacket, geek glasses, and a martini, I can’t help but be impressed by Mr. Sexo’s skilled drum work and their fearless swerve into tripped-out fantasy excellence. Short but sweet is track 10, “Apparitions.” And sure enough, “Its” sounds like it has been written by monks on PCP. I feel like I’m on drugs myself now and I’m pretty sure I haven’t taken anything since lunch time. Hell, at my next rage/orgy, I’m putting Vivid Nights in the CD player, dropping acid, and shagging every girl in the room baby! (Lance Woodward)
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