Santeria - "s/t" (GolarWash Labs/Records 2000, CD)

From Aural Innovations #15 (April 2001)

I don't normally think of Louisiana as a hotbed of heavy psychedelic rock. When Monoshock (exalted practicioners of the genre) played in New Orleans on their lone US tour back in '94, their entire audience consisted of the bartender and the soundman. Out of New Orleans come the locally-popular (at least according to their presskit) Santeria, who mix current StonerRock sounds with classic Southern boogie rawk and kickoutthejams overdrive (especially via their cover of the MC5's version of the Troggs' "I Want You", which pounds enough to do the "original" proud). Often, the band displays more subtlety and depth of texture than one might expect from those points of reference, only occasionally succumbing to grunge-cliché loud/soft dynamics. "Cain's Way" is one of the tunes subdued enough to allow the double-percussion team (drumkit and, apparently, gigantic djembe) to stand out beyond the restrained, oscillating-wah guitar backgrounds. Unfortunately, the lack of production (the album consists entirely of live/rehearsal performances) sometimes makes it difficult to pick up on the myriad of sonics that the five members dish out. "Death Trip" (not a Stooges cover) is a crunchy, cruising piece of biker rock with a surprisingly melodic lead guitar line and sensitive midsection. Several acoustic pieces in the second half of the album, too, show a sensitive side of the band, almost reaching a state of transcendental acid folk with an eastern feel - the contrast of these pieces with the heavier ones makes the entire CD-R quite listenable over its 74-minute length... no burnout at the 45-minute album-length mark. Overall, not quite as cool as the *true* psych/stoner stuff coming out of the neighboring state of Texas these days (Iron Bong, Dunlavey, Linus Pauling quartet, etc.), but still fine music that seems to have developed independently of any sort of actual "scene".

For more information you can visit the Santeria web site.
You can also visit the GolarWash Records site.
Contact via snail mail c/o GolarWash Labs/Records; 201 Belhomme Dr; Lafayette, LA 70506.

Reviewed by Doug Pearson

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