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Brownout

Aguilas and Cobras (Six Degrees)

Reviewed by Thomas Fawcett, Fri., Oct. 16, 2009

Texas Platters

Brownout

Aguilas and Cobras (Six Degrees)

Brownout comes out guns blazing on "Con el Cuete," the opening shot from sophomore album Aguilas and Cobras. Its crushing Mandrill-inspired rock guitars signal a break from instrumental debut Homenaje, as do the chanting group vocals, led by James Petralli of White Denim. The sweaty Latin funk workouts that made this Grupo Fantasma offshoot famoso are still present; that they get lost in the shuffle is a testament to the set's intrepidness. The swirling brass and synthesized funk of "Slinky" hypnotize while closer "S.F.L.A." is perfect for low-riding through the cosmos. The formerly all-instrumental eightpiece sings War chants over a stone-cold groove on "Chanclas de Ninja," and Rene Villanueva of Hacienda steps in for an inspired cover of "Tell Her She's Lovely," a hazy California cloud of El Chicano soul-jazz.

***.5

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