Mar 21, 2009

Review - Hacienda by Hacienda

The band is Hacienda and it’s a family affair, with brothers and a cousin making the kind of infectious, rootsy rock and roll that makes you wish you were living in some bygone time period where bobby socks and soda fountains were the norm, not online gaming and cell phones. It’s the kind of music that one can look to for the spice and for the retro-fitting groove, for the bass hopping that could speed up pulses, that could make you want to roll your shirt sleeves up to your mid-bicep and store a package of cigarettes in the fold..

.. It’s music that makes a person want to move their hips in bizarre and new ways though there’s no cognizant recognition that any of it is happening, just the spontaneous movement that springs from the ears comprehending what Hacienda is bringing to the table. It’s a home-cooked meal. It’s getting into a bit of a scrap. It’s wearing tight blue jeans and it’s smoking hand-rolled cigs. It’s a dirty and raw version of all of the amazing things that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Elvis Presley presented when they were walking and singing. It’s all that you can ask for in music that needs to felt, more than described, that needs to be witnessed to appreciate. It’s all inside – a direct reflection of the heart shining like it means it, the feet jittering as if they’re out of control and the sweat glands getting a workout.

There is something to get excited about in south-central Texas. In fact the buzz surrounding San Antonio's Hacienda may signal a rebirth of young rock n' roll -with emphasis on the "roll"- to the country's landscape. Formed by cousins Abraham Villanueva (piano/vocals) and Dante Schwebel (guitar/vocals), together with Abraham's brothers Jaime (drums/vocals) and Rene Villanueva (bass/vocals), this Mexican-American quartet blends a raw yet sophisticated style of pop music with harmonies reminiscent of the Beatles and Beach Boys. As fate would have it, a demo of 6 songs landed in the hands of Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, and the band's life was forever changed. Soon after they were opening for The Black Keys in Austin Texas, as well as for Dr. Dog, gaining some much needed exposure. Under Auerbach's watch, Hacienda would write and arrange more than twenty songs, sending him demos periodically in preparation for their debut album, ultimately recording in Dan's own studio in Akron, Ohio.

In order to keep the integrity of the music, "Loud Is The Night" was largely captured live in the room with a helping hand from new friends Scott and Frank of Dr. Dog. With them they worked on existing vocal harmonies and created new ones, greatly embellishing the album. The result is a beautiful collection of songs played with integrity and soul to spare, and while the band is aware of its 60's influences, the music on "Loud is the Night" is far from derivative, and the finished product is modern pop music performed with genuineness and taste.

Hacienda's official site
Hacienda on myspace

Hear them!

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