Sons of Santos
The Spindletop Blues
Reviewed by Kevin Curtin, Fri., Aug. 18, 2017
Their brand of acoustic folk-pop nestling comfortably between the sensitive earthiness of the Avett Brothers and the baroque tendencies of Andrew Bird, Sons of Santos' enchanting circle of strings, keys, and percussion wafts soft as a feather bed on the Austin quartet's debut full-length. The bass clef steals the show with Nick Soberon's agile cello coloring sections with bold melodies ("Nobody's Watching"), and upright bass gripper Mason Hankamer handles the heavy lifting with a brilliant low end ("Strong Enough"). As an album, The Spindletop Blues boasts sophisticated structure complete with a gospel-influenced intro and a moody piano interlude, but the disc would be better off instrumental. Luis Soberon has a voice like Jeff Buckley, but falls prey to incessant overuse of pseudo-soul vocalizations where he moans his way into the realm of coffeehouse singer-songwriter. When singing actual words, he occasionally brushes against meaningful human connection ("Boy Soldier"), but devotes most breath on sappy invitations of vague romance of emotional understanding.