EP Review

Los Brujos – Alchemy: EP Review

A tasteful and tuneful psych-folk-Americana collection from Los Brujos brings sunshine to a wet British autumn day.

Release Date:  6th November 2020

Label: InSeam Records

Formats: DL / stream

As Storm Barbara wends its wet way across the English Midlands, I’ve just spent a pleasant half-hour in the sunshine, courtesy of US psych-folk-Americana duo Los Brujos and their debut EP release, Alchemy. 

Los Brujos are Chuck Melchin, key member of the loose collective of musicians, The Bean Pickers Union and Michael Spaly, the driving force behind the folk-bluegrass-psychedelic jam band Green Monroe.  Both are multi-instrumentalists and over many years have shared concert bills and guested on each other’s records. Now they’ve taken the opportunity afforded by COVID isolation to put together a short set of songs, each using their own home studios in, respectively, New Hampshire and Michigan.

The result is a charming, laid-back collection of great tunes, thoughtful lyrics and tasteful harmonies, all played with the confidence and competence that you’d expect from such seasoned musicians.

There are five tracks on the EP and they’re all good ‘uns!  We start with Reckoning where guitar and mandolin entwine together behind lyrics that describe an eerie, angel-forsaken, remote location.  You sense that something is about to happen, but we’re left to guess precisely what.  The whole thing is delivered in heavenly harmony vocals that sound like they were lifted from the first Crosby, Stills and Nash album.  On Bronco, a sad song of parting, the duo is joined by Carla Dyer who adds extra vocal sparkle to those CSN harmonies and a guitar/mandolin/fiddle backing.  Carla sticks around for Everything I Can, a country shuffle that also features Jim Larkin on drums and has further colour added by some tasty violin licks and a relaxed electric guitar solo.

High Times is probably my favourite track on the EP.  Built around some lovely piano from Chris Coughlin, the song’s lyrics describe the disorientation familiar to anyone who has attempted to restart their life in a new town.  The lyrics and their delivery evoke Michael Nesmith from the Nevada Fighter period and the high harmonies recall The Band’s Unfaithful Servant.  And, on top of all that, there’s some wonderful rolling banjo to enjoy.

Closing track, Bitter Blue, is a folky number with yet more endearingly tasteful guitar, violin and mandolin instrumentation.  Altogether, Alchemy is a highly enjoyable short collection!

Watch the video for Everything I Can here:

Los Brujos online:  Websites – Chuck Melchin Michael Spaly  Facebook – Chuck Melchin Michael Spaly

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