Brujas Del Sol – II
Words: Ryan Getz
Brujas Del Sol have single-handedly shaped a significant part of my development as a music journalist and indie music lover.
I’m not exactly sure when I first encountered them. It might have been through an email. But one night 5 or 6 years ago, I found myself bouncing back and forth between The Summit and Cafe Bourbon Street, two dives. Brujas was playing at Bobo, as the locals sometimes call that dive. A couple dozen people, a simple light show, and spacey grooves. Outside, I met Adrian Zambrano, the group’s frontman of sorts. “Ah, this motherf***r,” he said, greeting me for the first time. It was a friendly greeting.
In a way that greeting is a metaphor of sorts for the music of this band. (Parents and families out there, I’m not condoning language! In many ways I’m still pretty old fashioned about this.) At a certain point in my life I never would have pictured myself being greeted in that way outside of a dive bar and reacting to it positively (that would have been 14 year old goodie two shoes me). Similarly, high school RadioU loving Ryan (ah, who am I kidding; I still love RadioU) never would have predicted that he’d grow to love psychedelic space rock in bars like Bobo and Double Happiness.
After that long winded intro, let’s discuss the music a bit more, shall we? I’m going to attempt to react to this accurately while sitting in a coffee shop in Grandview. I guess the phrase “attempt to react” is already a reaction of sorts. The music feels out of place in this setting, but I’m still enjoying it. I think back to a conversation I had with Phil Reed (the newest member of the band) about his other project, The Wind and the Sea. When asking what setting his band’s music was ideally performed in, he somewhat gleefully answered “in darkness!” So Brujas Del Sol’s music would also fit, even though the band’s name roughly translates to “Sun Witches.”
Yet, like the sun, Brujas brings the heat. “Sea Rage” has the most commercial potential of any song they’ve released, if you will. Many would see that as an insult, but I see an opportunity. This riff is an earworm, and the production is superb. And the song is under 4 minutes long. The right length for a film placement, don’tcha think?
Actually, this band is great at creating moments in time that are easily palatable for the masses and yet ooze talent and make people like me say things like “I’m not sure how to describe that, but that was awesome!” I first thought that during the band’s album opener on Moonliner “Ships In the Distance,” and that feeling creeps back into my psyche (pun intended) during “Sisterlace.”
The biggest difference between II and Moonliner is how dancey the former can be at times. Electronic production is a welcome addition, making the music shimmer where otherwise it might have just allowed the listener to bake in it’s riffage. “Fringe of Senility” marches right into a sort of psych-disco territory with a pounding territory, and the most pronounced vocals of Adrian’s career. In the past, he’s made use of his voice as an instrument—merely another element swirling into the void. However, here we get to experience Zambrano as his most ethereal and pointed. This production influence has to be coming from Phil Reed—listen to The Wind and the Sea, and you’ll see what I mean.
“Polara” at times feels like it could be a sibling to the aforementioned “Ships in the Distance,” albeit with tighter noodling. Some of these riffs might make Matt Bellamy (back when Muse was a guitar-driven band) blush. The breakdown on album closer “Spiritus” is actually vaguely reminiscent of Muse’s “Knights of Cydonia.” After a lull midway through the song, it’s a thrilling conclusion to an epic record.