Santeria - Year of the Knife
(Golarwash labs and Records 2008)

From Aural Innovations January 2009 update

Santeria are a US band from the South (Louisiana)! This is not southern rock as you think of it but more of a really diverse set of great rock songs. You have to hear this record a lot of times to get sucked in though. The CD starts with Come on Baby, which is a straight up rocker that has a bit of Billy Idol influence at the beginning. Leave something Witchy starts a bit mysterious but then a cool rock riff kicks in. The singer has a cool raspy Smokey voice as well. This track is a tiny bit psychedelic. I wish they had more guitar solos in their tracks though. Nowhere to Go has another kick ass rock riff but sadly they put it aside and focus on a more melodic pop like section, a bit like BOC would use, before hitting you in the face with the rock again. Haunted Heart is another more melodic rock track. I really think he sounds like Buck Dharma at times but with a more raspy vocal. Mexico features some acoustic playing and also has some nice and simple slide guitar as does the next swamp music track called HWY to the Morning Star. My Right thing can’t go Wrong is a countryish track with harmonica, acoustic guitar and a great foot stomping groove. Can you Dream has a slow building groove based on a very repetitive guitar line (damn cool one!). You get a bit of eastern influence mixed in as well if you listen closely. You got what I need is a simple radio rock track. Sold my Soul features some trumpet and is a pretty basic rock track as well. It has a great rock riff but I just did not like the commercial direction they took it. Haunted Dub is an interesting track with a sort of funky guitar line and effected vocals. A bit of an experimental track which was cool to mix in. The title track, Year of the Knife, starts with an acoustic guitar and this is the first track to break the 4 minute mark and is a very cool musical journey of sorts and totally different from any other track on the CD. Horns, keyboards, spacey sounds and effects, etc. The CD ends with probably the best track on the CD, House of the Dying Sun.

At times its like the best bits of Billy Idol mixed with Blue Oyster Cult but with much more simple tracks. This is at the beginning of the record and then it goes somewhere completely different. The record has great diversity and you can get lost in it. Starts off rocking and ends rocking with a lot of different kinds of tracks in the middle…Good band…

Check out the band web site at:

Reviewed by Scott Heller

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