Fusing the richest elements of psychedelic drone and surf rock into mesmerising and invigorating sounds with equally compelling ambience, Brujas del Sol is a band which captures and provokes the imagination with a potency that is hard to represent in words. Whether their debut album Moonliner proves to be a flame to your passions or just a flicker before your appetite, there is no escaping its rich and evocative touch. The six track release is a persuasive journey within sultry skies, colourful tides, and constantly evolving soundscapes, and ultimately a thrilling and bewitching experience.
Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, Brujas del Sol was formed in 2011 by Adrian Zambrano (guitar, vocals), Derrick White (bass), and Jason Green (drums). Recording every improvised jam session rather than pre-write songs, the trio spent months capturing ideas and sounds, elements of hypnotic krautrock, fuzz lilted blues, surf-rock, ambient, and drones all coming forward to add flavour and texture to their ideas with the result being something unique, and as the album shows quite scintillating. Entering the studio in the spring of last year the band recorded two EPs in the shape of Moonliner vol 1 and 2. The trio next brought in keyboardist Ryan Stivers to expand and add further depth to their now demanding writing process with the now quartet working on the final part of the Moonliner trilogy which had its release last December. The album is the outcome of the band reworking and re-recording the tracks which made up the EPs with the keys adding their fresh breath to them, and released via Devouter Records the album is a striking and richly enterprising treat.
The chilled yet smouldering opening ambience of Ships In The Distance brings the album into view, its magnetic touch a psyched imbalance of harmonic discord and threatening atmosphere which has the strongest lure on intrigue and attention. As the enveloping breath of the song wraps firmly around the ear a fiery sonic dance from the guitar catches the eye whilst the low slung prowl of the bass engages with its distinct shadow. Into its full pace the track is a sultry rush of sweltering surf rock with psychedelic persuasion, the acidic touch of the sounds captivating and demanding of attention. At this point there is no resistance to its voice which swarms over the senses with restraint but fervour, yet when the track slips into a sudden new stance it finds another level of inciting rapture. The bass suddenly lifts its stroll with urgency whilst the surrounding sounds step into a tethered arena to allow the vocals to bring their emotive depth to proceedings. The bass and core drive of at this point is pure early The Cure whilst the rising expanse of sonic imagination sizzles with impassioned invention.
The impressive starter hands over to Satanic Surf Girls Love to Dance, a blues soaked coarsely ridged explosion of again open originality. From its abrasive but reserved beginning the song also offers an unexpected shift as it turns into a semi drone stoner grooved canter across the senses. Like its predecessor and tracks to follow, it is impossible to predict its intent or movements but everything it unveils is a seamless flow and temptation for the already enlivened passions. The repetitive bass and rhythmic spine is persistent and unrelenting yet tempered by the impressive melodic and sonic flames burning vibrantly around it. Though not as virulent as the first , the song drives deeper the now in place hook into the emotions from the album with contagious ease as does the following pair of Conquistadors and Noon On The Moon.
The first of the two drones a submission out of the senses within moments punctuated by heavy crescendos of downtuned force which finally takes a firm grip and drives the song forward with the punchy drums framing the premise like a predator. The vocals are partly smothered by the electric blues intensity permeating the air but it only adds to the lure of them and the layers of the piece. A lumbering stroll the song again fails to match what comes before in many ways but has expansive bulk of sound to explore and discovers corners within with each listen. The second of the pair emerges on a dark chilled ambience, its presence ebbing and flowing like an unlit tide until the bass steps forward with a line which echoes Psycho Killer by Talking Heads whilst treading its own shadowed path. The expressive and vivid heat of the guitars and keys sculpt imagery and emotion to soundtrack with rich invention and entrancing beauty, the brewing spellbinding mystique at the heart of the track.
The finest moment on the release comes with Baba Yaga, a dazzling surf rock seduction complete with swerving grooves and initially an exhausting confrontation which unsettles senses and thoughts for the impending melodic dance to exploit. The track has elements of The Cramps and The Bomboras to its passion inciting wonder and as always a sixties psychedelic kiss which ensures nothing is clean cut or predictable.
With Castles Upon Golden Gate just as strikingly closing up the album, Moonliner is a full on enticement with hex like mastery and temptation to its remarkable sounds and imagination. The outstanding album has plenty for all fans of surf, progressive, psychedelic and melodic rock, and just as much for those who are not sure what they want, no one should refuse its offerings without at least one immersion into its well of sonic beauty.
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