Volumen 1 (n / a)
Reviewed by Thomas Fawcett, Fri., Feb. 15, 2008
El TuleVolumen 1
Many songs from El Tule's debut, Volumen 1, begin as traditional salsa and cumbia tunes, but more often than not, the Austin sixpiece takes delightful and unexpected detours along the way, dipping in pools of funk, reggae, rock, and psychedelia. The stunning "Media Noche" slowly builds from a slinky groove into a dreamy magical carpet ride full of wandering guitars and brooding horns, while the more traditional "El Chupacabra" adds another chapter to the lore of the mythical and mysterious goat-sucking beast. The group takes tradition seriously but isn't afraid to add a hard funk edge to a song honoring the indigenous past of Mexico ("Ruta Maya"). The reggae-infused "Eyes of Noah" doesn't quite hit the mark but demonstrates the group's impressive versatility. The title suggests this is only the beginning for El Tule.