Wait. Think. Fast. – Luces Del Sur

Wait. Think. Fast. – Luces Del Sur

From the chiming opening of “Si Es Por Amor,” alongside its 80s guitar riff and swelling progressions, you’d think it was one of Café Tacvba’s liveliest jams. The pound of the drums, the clanking of the piano and the typical sing-along chorus always make for fantastic results; the game-changer being Jacqueline Santillan’s impressionably terrific voice. The head-liner, the Argentinean-born singer’s vocals are the star of the show: an ever-changing, ever-evolving growth of maturity, it’s easily what makes Luces Del Sur more than just a good album.

While the main theme of the album follows the notion of searching for the lights in the south, Wait. Think. Fast. is the fruition of what can happen when aiming modestly and potently. Refusing to settle for just another hybrid of cultures, the California-based band find solace in turning their honest desires into rich music filled with worldly, alternative rock in its creation.

There’s a moment on “Bad Night” – somewhere after the mysterious opening drone and right when Santillan enters – where everything suddenly sounds like Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. Strong and visceral, Santillan’s voice sings out “I can’t get to sleep without you” with her most Neko Case-like emotion and prowess. It’s not only a strong shift in terms of the scope but it’s a directly new style from what preceded it. Twangy and almost Western, the entire band uses their versatility to their advantage in every conceivable way.

There are undeniable amounts of musicality on Spanish-infused songs like “Jornaleras,” where every musician is asked to step forward and bask in the light for a bit. After Santillan has sung her heart away, she gives the floor to a flamenco acoustic guitar before coming back to sing with newly introduced, swirling strings. There are a definite number of occasions where the music leaves you floored with its sincere emotion – no pun intended. Like on “Leymah Contra Los Diablos,” Santillan finds inspiration in the darkest of corners and in turn, her band-mates quickly latch onto the sentiments. The guitar is a strong contender in the background, waiting for the music to come around to deliver a gripping, intense force.

I didn’t even realize that Santillan was a fan of Case until I had already lived with the album for quite some time. It’s probably the finest form of flattery in modeling one’s career after another and I’m sure Case would be proud. Santillan takes everything in her roots and combines it all with a compelling blend of rock’s finest cornerstones – Luces Del Sur ends up assuring the band’s ability in excellent form. It doesn’t hurt when you have such a strong band to back you up, it gives Santillan the flexibility to roam free and for Wait. Think. Fast., that’s the best kind of news.

AT Records