3 votes

Hermanos Gutiérrez - El Bueno Y El Malo (2022)


  1. soks_n_sandals
    I have been waiting impatiently for this record to release. This is a sound that's carving out a niche in my library. From AllMusic:

    I have been waiting impatiently for this record to release. This is a sound that's carving out a niche in my library.

    From AllMusic:

    The title of the fifth long-player from these Swiss-Ecuadorian brothers translates as "the good and the bad." There is no ugly, though the inspiration Hermanos Gutierrez drew from Ennio Morricone's theme to Sergio Leone's epic spaghetti Western is obvious. This date follows 2020's widely acclaimed Hijos de Sol. Recorded in Nashville at producer Dan Auerbach's Easy Eye Sound studio, it appears on his label, distributed by Concord.

    For the uninitiated, the Gutierrez's music embodies musical and production elements that recall Ry Cooder's soundtracks (especially Paris, Texas) and the western scores of Nico Fidenco, Alessandro Alessandroni, Luis Bacalov, and Morricone, as well as vintage Latin American music from the 1950s and '60s. The brothers' sound reflects endless, sun-drenched skies, and remote, often unforgiving, spooky landscapes. Stephan and Alejandro play a traditional electric guitar and a lap steel guitar with organic percussion. Their intimate approach involves one brother establishing a rhythmic vamp, to the other's melodic lines entwining around it inextricably. For the first time, they are selectively accompanied by chamber strings, congas, and on "Tres Hermanos," Auerbach's guitar.

    The desert-flavored title track opens the album. It was recorded surreptitiously 20 minutes after their arrival in the studio for the session. While the brothers were working out the changes amid the reverbed, string bending lyricism, Auerbach hit "record," capturing their idiosyncratic, seamless sonic dialogue. They kept the take. "Los Chicos Triste" emerges sounding like a Latinized version of something from early Durutti Column. The fingerpicked chord voicings, and interwoven middle and bass string fills are adorned by wispy yet insistent strings, creating a quiet foreboding sense of drama. "Thunderbird" draws on the song forms of Mexican nuevo cancione and Cuban bolero. The guitar interplay is knotty yet limpid. Their playing is nearly telepathic in its slippery melody and circular interplay. "Tres Hermanos" -- with Auerbach on a third guitar -- happened because the producer helped the duo work out a particularly difficult arrangement. Two serpentine guitars create harmonic labyrinth and a rhythm that recalls the rural Mexican cumbia. Lead fills waft in and out until the lap steel enters, creating alternate lyric lines, ringing harmonies, and pulse-like phrasing above simple percussion. While "Pueblo Man" is a gorgeous pastoral ballad, "La Verdad" weds cumbia, surf, blues, and Mexican vacquero (cowboy) music. "Los Amantes" whispers its drifting serpentine melody across a percussive, fingerpicked lower string vamp. Percussion paces the pair who weave in and through one another as the lap steel whines in the distance. CLosder "Dorado Valley" employs a minor key. A two-chord rhythm vamp is established, altering the soundscape with shapes and overdubbed fingerpicking; the lap steel flows above, around, and through with intimate and intricate lines. It carries the set out with a lonesome, arid groove. Due to wider distribution this time, the gorgeous El Bueno y El Malo will present a greater opportunity for listeners to encounter the nomadic, atmospheric sound world of Hermanos Gutierrez. Don't miss it.

    1 vote