Brownout may share the same eight players with the
Grammy nominated Grupo Fantasma, but with their second CD, Aguilas and
Cobras, it’s impossible to see them as a side project, alter-ego or second
option: they are too good to be second to anything.
The Austin-based combo’s first CD, Homenaje,
was a shot across the bow that announced the arrival of a super-suave modern
Latin funk/rock band of style and substance. Aguilas and Cobras ups the
ante in all directions; it’s suaver, funkier, catchier and more sophisticated
in every department, and puts Brownout right at the front of contemporary Latin
Brownout’s sound is smooth, sexy and slinky; it’s
groove music blown up and out with bursts of percussion and prowling horns. All
eight players pull equal weight instrumentally, with songwriting coming
principally from guitar player/band leader Adrian Quesada, guitar player Beto
Martinez and bass player Greg Gonzalez, who all also share production credits.
The album is instrumental except for a cover of ‘70s Latin rock icons El
Chicano’s “Tell Her She’s Lovely,” the cinematic funk of
“Chanclas De Ninja,” some chanting on “Olvidalo” and some
remarkable multi-layered vocals on the opener “Con El Cuete.”
Actually, the whole record has a soundtrack-like feel that fans of contemporary
“cinematic soul” acts like El Michels Affair or Barry Adamson, or
vintage Issac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield or Willie Hutch, will find deeply
satisfying. The same could be said for fans of ‘70s Latin rock bands like Malo,
Santana and El Chicano; Adrian Quesada clearly takes his six-string cues from
the brothers Jorge (from Malo) and Carlos Santana.
Aguilas and Cobras really is THAT good. Somebody do us all a favor and get these guys a
movie to go with this should-be soundtrack.
“Con El Cuete,” “Aguilas and Cobras,” “Framed By
Death,” “Pole Position,” “C 130.” CARL HANNI