Santeria – “Year Of The Knife”

Album Reviews | Mar 28th, 2009

Record Label: S/R
Genre: Rock
Band Link: link
Santeria deliver what you’d expect from their name –  some black-magic-woman, Deep South rock n’ roll with a Voodoo Chile reverby crunch.   What’s surprising is how well they do it.

This kind of southern blues-meets-psychedelic rock was, of course, reinvented during the grunge era, for better (Soundgarden, Jane’s Addiction) or worse (everyone else).  More recently, it also made a slight comeback a few years ago in the indie/garage world, but those bands were too consciously hip with muddy, doom rock tendencies.  Santeria sound and feel effortless, unpretentious, and unabashedly passionate about their roots influences.   Best of all, they avoid grunge melodrama and modern hipsterdom.

They’re mid-tempo but simple rock riffs and catchy vocal lines keep the tunes rolling like a rickety boxcar down a hill.  Santeria are also concise with most tunes around 3:30.   But even longer tunes, like the mariachi-ish “Mexico” and the twangy “HWY to the Morning Star” are far less hokey than they ought to be.

I tend to dislike retro throwbacks but Santeria tap into what made the original bands so enjoyable.  There are no fist-pumping anthems here or oversexed sleaze antics.  It’s not new but it’s not ironic.  It’s just good ol’ early 70s rock and it’s done very well.

Bottom Line: In less competent hands, this would be run-of-the-mill bar rock.
Notable Tracks: Come On, Baby; Nowhere To Go; You Got What I Need; Sold My Soul (For Nothing)
Overall Rating:


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