Quesada plays an interesting cross-cultural game of musical ping pong mixing multiple languages (songs are sung in a mix of English, Portuguese and Spanish) and influences from the likes of Tim Maia and Rita Lee, Serge Gainsbourg, and David Axelrod. Buckets of spring reverb, huge doses of psyched out farfisa and electric harpsichord, and super-heavy drums back soulful vocals. Quesada recalls classic American funk and low-rider soul, but shades everything with a South American twist. As the Austinist blog said, this is “World music for people who tend to blanch at the very idea of it, maybe.” At times the music sounds like the lost Morricone soundtrack to a sun scorched Tarantino movie scene dosed in peyote. But the Sunshadows album also reaches breezier heights as Quesada weaves in exotic elements of Afrobeat, Latin funk, and Brazilian folk.
To complete his outernational vision he called upon the talents of Clavier (Frederic Aubele/Thievery Corporation vocalist) and Lima (who has appeared on the Ubiquity-released Ohmega Watts “Watts Happening” album and is the daughter of Liminha, bass player for Os Mutantes,) “They helped expand the vision and created a sound that was sensual and soulful but still somewhat dusty and raw,” explains Quesada. “I sometimes prefer non-English lyrics as its less oratory and the voice becomes more of an instrument,” he adds.
It’s no surprise that Quesada picked Southern Americans as vocalists as it was a little known Peruvian band, Los Pasteles Verdes, and in particular their bolero (ballad) “Esclavo Y Amo,” that were a big inspiration for the album. The original is a catchy obscurity that takes the form of an American soul ballad and spits it back-out dripping in lo-fi charm, “The minute I heard it I was so inspired,” says Quesada. “It was so funky and tripped out yet, simultaneously tragic.”
On “Sunshadows” The Echocentrics weave through ballads and cinematic instrumentals building steam to reach the faster tempo Latin-funk of “Dudar” and the hybrid Afro-beat/Brazilian flavored “Mundo Pequeno.” On “Don Alejo” they deliver a spaghetti western style head-nod-inducing instrumental, while the string-laden “Crescent Sun” is cruise-ready, top-down, Austin funk. “I would say the sound we’re going for is bigger than just a reflection of the sound of Austin,” says Quesada. “It’s also the sound of Buenos Aires, Rio de Jaineiro, Brooklyn, Barcelona, etc etc.”