nelo CD release

Austin newcomers nelo's press kit helpfully points that the sextet's names rhymes with "hello." A much better homophone would be "mellow," because their self-titled debut is about as chill as an October afternoon in Wisconsin without any long underwear on. Saturated in acoustic guitars, breezy horns and silky come-ons, nelo seems destined to draw the adoration of comely young coeds and the scorn of so-called "serious" music fans in equal measure.

nelo dates back to songwriter/lyricist Matt Ragland and singer Reid Umstattd's summer-camp experiences at Camp Longhorn, which shows in several songs' strummy kum-ba-yah campfire choruses. The rhythm and horn sections, meanwhile, obviously didn't miss too many jazz classes at Denton's University of North Texas – they devise several suprisingly salient Stax-like licks. Overall, though, the music is too slight and the songs too cliched - in "Another Day" Ragland's lyrics aspire to "spread some sunshine around" - for the album to make much of an impact beyond the carefree circle of Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews and G. Love fans, who will no doubt bask in its sunny-day vibe to their hearts' content. - Chris Gray

7 p.m. Friday, May 9, at Meridian, 1503 Chartres, 713-225-1717.


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