Grupo Fantasma

Problemas (Blue Corn)

Texas Platters

For the past 15 years, Grupo Fantasma has reigned as the king daddy (papi) of Latin rock, culminating in a Grammy win for its last album El Existential. Now it's time to evolve. Teamed with producer Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and engineers Jim Eno and Brad Bell at the Spoon drummer's local Public Hi-Fi studios – plus including guest spots from prodigal son Adrian Quesada – Austin's border funk orchestra tenders sixth LP Problemas, its first in five years. Infusing international flavor into a traditional core of flammable brass, octopus percussion, and biting guitars, the 10-piece slinks bits of African and Eastern European music into the riffs, while hip-hop, jazz, and psychedelic flavorings gauze the arrangements. Everything gets bent to the band's strengths, with a special emphasis on Cuban motion. The power chord-enhanced "Esa Negra," lush "Cayuco," and soaring "Solo un Sueño" all keep the dance floor roiling. "Otoño" and Beatles cover "Porque" (Because) massage less busy rhythms, aiming squarely for the head and heart rather than hips and feet. For old-school fans, "Mulato" keeps the band's traditional fan base fed by re-igniting the South American ritmo of its 2004 sophomore disc Movimiento Popular. Consider the song and perhaps the album's title track future live set standards. Berlin gives Grupo Fantasma space to work its spell, letting each voice and instrument achieve clarity while still blending into one vision. The only Problemas here rate as first world.

****

READ MORE
More Grupo Fantasma
Worst Tour Stories Ever
Worst Tour Stories Ever
The road goes on forever and the party never ends

July 8, 2016

Off the Record
Off the Record
Music News

Austin Powell, Feb. 18, 2011

More Music Reviews
SXSW Friday Record Reviews
Diet Cig
Swear I'm Good at This (Record Review)

Abby Johnston, March 17, 2017

SXSW Friday Record Reviews
Lvl Up
Return to Love (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, March 17, 2017

More by Michael Toland
SXSW Music Live: Mastodon
SXSW Music Live: Mastodon
Brutally efficient as equally heavy

March 18, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Reverberation Appreciation Society Showcase
SXSW Music Live: Reverberation Appreciation Society Showcase
ATX viral synth wave stars Survive levitate

March 17, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Grupo Fantasma

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)