Brownout is brother to the Texan Latin funk band Grupo Fantasma. The musicians are the same, but the aim has shifted on Aguilas and Cobras. The funk side of things swells, and a new sound, pysch, makes an entrance, bringing with it fresh guitars and a river of violins on “Chancias de Ninja” to cushion the alertness of the Latin trumpets and percussion. The Latin and funk go smoothly together, but the psych/rock combination is occasionally an awkward fit. It’s the rock part that’s the problem. The directness of it doesn’‘t always sit comfortably inside a funk-Latin swing. Sometimes it’s as if two trains of thought are trying to reach the same destination along different paths, and we’re being asked to follow both at once. In most of the songs the mix comes together and the result is rich and exhilarating—‘70s guitars wrangling alongside trumpets plus added bits of psych-mysticism inside funk keyboards, and throughout it all, proud flourishing brass.
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