Reviewed by Belinda Acosta, Fri., April 28, 2006
Brotherhood (Smilin' Castle)
After a four-year wait, Del Castillo's fourth disc sounds like a two-for-one package. The first half of Brotherhood comes humping from the gate like a teenage boy on his first date, rarely pausing to explore other tempos with nuance. While fun in the heat of the moment, when it's over, the inevitable, "That's it?" rears up. Not that the band isn't in fine form. Rick and Mark del Castillo are still sweltering guitarists, and the rhythm section, Mike Zeoli on drums, Rick Holeman on percussion, and bassist Albert Besteiro, keep the heartbeat racing. The warmly weathered vocals of Alex Ruiz always satisfy. Everyone steps up. Thankfully, the album finally strikes a nerve in the ninth track with the haunting "Perdoname" and "I Never Cared for You," which is buoyed by sardonic lyrics and guest vocalist Willie Nelson. These, along with the (curiously) bright "Que Dolor" and the keenly hued closer "El Corrido de Don Lulai" captivate and remind why, no matter what, new music from Del Castillo is always worth waiting for.