Album review for “El Existential” by Grupo Fantasma

            Grupo Fantasma is a 10-piece Latin band from Austin, Texas. What sets them apart from most Latin bands is the fact that they infuse funky 70’s rock with traditional Spanish rhythm. The result is a fresh sound that will make any listener want to learn the Rumba, or at least tap their feet. “El Existential” is Grupo Fantasma’s fifth full-length record. They garnered much critical acclaim with their previous release, “Sonidos Gold,” (2008), which earned them a Grammy nomination. “El Existential” should keep the momentum going with classic Grupo style, plus a few surprises.

            The album opens with “Realizando” and sets the tempo with a tight drum beat and distorted guitar. The tracks to follow, “La Conozco” and “Sacatelo Bailando” showcase the band’s awesome horn section. “El Consejo” is reminiscent of a theme song for a 70’s crime show set in Cancun. The next tune, “Hijo,” begins with a slow and pleasant rhythm, but soon breaks out into a hard rock riff and Santana-esque guitar solo. Things slow down with “Juan Tenorio” and then blast full force into the spicy “Montañozo.” My personal favorite on the album is “Telaraña,” which is perhaps Grupo’s most pop-driven song to date. The record closes with the experimental and trippy “Araña Cuña,” which sums up what this talented and versatile band is all about: pushing the boundaries of genres and creating catchy and fun music.

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