Sunday, March 24, 2013

... BRUJAS DEL SOL 'Moonliner" (album review)

This longplayer compiles the three "Moonliner"-singles by Ohio-based troupe Brujas Del Sol (quite a name for a band from Columbus, the home of folk activist Phil Ochs) on one LP. Stylistically, the band caters to an audience with preferences between Space Rock and Neo Psychedelia.

The titles of their tunes are evocative with respect to the direction the music takes: "Ships In The Distance" nods vehemently toward Hawkwind at their most plodding, returning to ground zero after exactly ten minutes. While here, Brujas Del Sol are working for the sheer hypnotic effect, the following "Satanic Surf Girls Love To Dance" actually cultivates a distinct melodic motif, which keeps shifting but doesn't become irrecognizable, thus making the song more memorable. "Conquistadors" starts on a droning note and remains relaxed throughout, based on a simple riff and guitarist Adrian's typically hushed vocals. The leads and melodies once again take on an improvisatory charakter without seeming incoherent.

The paired arrangement of six songs insinuates that there are three A- and three B-sides, but which is which does not become clear, as Brujas Del Sol refrain from composing easily accessible tunes. "Noon On The Moon" draws from flanger effects and a mantric bass pulse consisting of one note only to underline slightly oriental guitar lines until surprisingly, an organ comes into play to accompany the singer. Being the longest track on "Moonlighter", it is also the standout on the record, but the rest also clearly surpasses the rather unwieldly first half: "Baba Yaga" focuses on a higher pace and guitar leads that sound more concrete than ever, while closer "Castles Upon Golden Gate" builds a wall of sound without the mannerisms of post rock. Instead, Brujas Del Sol let the song fade out ever so gently.

To put the group into a drawer, take Tame Impala or even Mercury Rev, yet with drawn out songs, less singing, respectively hardly any pop appeal (which is a good thing) and a mystical atmosphere. Get your rockets started and take these guys with you on a journey into the unknown.

words Andreas Schiffmann

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