Del Castillo (Smilin' Castle)
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., April 17, 2009
Del Castillo(Smilin' Castle)
Percussive rolls like the one opening Del Castillo seemingly stamp every Latin rock LP since a certain guitarist from Tijuana made his name at Woodstock. In that same genus, when Del Castillo frontman Alex Ruiz keeps coming back to a "rumba that kills" on leadoff cut "Boricua del Cielo," he's not kidding. Neither is this veteran Austin sextet. Its flamenco panache soothes the savage breast as effectively as a world-famous gypsy institution of Catalonian descent. Capping Del Castillo's complete game, "Everlasting" comes on with a radio chorus not heard since a little ol' trio of brothers from San Angelo put its town on the map (although this gang precedes those boys in penning top-shelf Latinate crossovers on their previous three albums). Ditto "Castles," although at almost five minutes, the tune eventually pokes into tourism ad territory. (See also: "Home.") "Anybody Wanna," appended a second time at album's end as a radio edit, completes (and, by such a designation, apparently tops) Del Castillo's commercial trinity and backbone. The group executes even better in Español, as on "Noche Brava" and in the mariachi cantina of "Corazon Loco." When the boys go instrumental by pulling the rip cord on Del Castillo brothers Mark and Rick, guitars do all the dancing ("Cafe sin Leche"). Ultimate testament to these local all-stars comes from the fact that the only name that needs recall after spinning this eponymous disc is Del Castillo.