Friday, January 2, 2009
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The funny thing is, I was actually on the Alive Natural Sound web site looking for more info on the upcoming Trainwreck release this Spring (side note – hell yeah!) and seeing the album covers lined up in plain view triggered my memory. I’ve been meaning to talk about Hacienda for a while now and just kept putting it off.
I know most people are happy to give this San Antonio family band (three brothers and a cousin) a listen because the man twisting the knobs on Loud is the Night is Dan Auerbach, but the sun kissed pop songs deserve attention on their own merit. The Villanueva brothers provide a perfect backdrop for vocalist Dante Schwebel and the notes and harmonies shimmer. At times you could swear you found this gem in a stack of vinyl at a yard sale, as the band’s melodies are near perfect retro pop.
It’s easy to hear the sounds these Mexican-Americans create and talk about the Beach Boys – they harmonize so nicely and even the grainy cover art and font take you back to a time when short shorts, surfboards and sun kissed skin was the dream – or talk about how well they fit in with the bands they tour with (Dr. Dog and naturally Frank McElroy and Scott McMicken also guest on the album), but Hacienda makes sure that their sound isn’t completely indebted to that over replicated era.
They give a nice 70’s Tex-Mex style rework to the Sonny and Cher classic Baby Don’t Go, but also pull off some doo-wap and change tempos to keep the songs moving. There are moments that could obviously soundtrack your summer, but tracks like Another Day would fit in perfectly with a backyard chimney and a nice blanket on a crisp autumn night. The opening track, She’s Got A Hold On Me, could easily be placed on my favorite songs of ’08 list and honestly, for a debut this record (especially one that is destined to be compared to fantastic songs and bands) is remarkable.