Ojo del Sol
Reviewed by David Lynch, Fri., April 23, 2004
Ojo del SolSunrise to Sunset Like Del Castillo, Ojo del Sol is an Austin Latin rock band built around groove-based rhythms, emotive Spanish and English singing, and dual guitar work. While Del Castillo is known for fret board frenzy, Ojo del Sol prefers a more laid-back approach, melting nylon-string guitars with drums, bass, percussion, and keyboards. ODS can rock out, but on their third release, the fivepiece aims for acoustically based, melodic rock, not unlike Journey meets Santana, with Strunz & Farah thrown in for good measure. Intro "La Salida del Sol" showcases guitar gifts, while also preparing listeners for a very well-recorded ride. Santana is the guidepost of the more upbeat title track, and instrumental cut "Esperanza" is equal parts harmony and grace. Yet the pace of nearly every track is midtempo (save for the closing cut-and-paste bonus opus), resulting in an album that lacks audience-induced vigor. The overall cadence is so laid-back that Sunrise to Sunset doesn't quite take off like the band does onstage, sometimes resulting in better background than foreground music. Lyrical predictability could also be reduced. That said, Ojo del Sol doesn't need to start from scratch. Given the innate quality of their composing and playing, it won't be long before we hear Ojo del Sol again. Maybe a live album from their second-home, Iron Cactus North.