There are only a few lounge tracks that I can honestly tolerate; a disturbing amount of those are re-makes of alternative/popular songs (such as the lounge version of DC Talkâ€™s â€œFloodâ€). However, there are some interesting tracks on this album; the amount of experimentation that Esquivel and eir band does, seamlessly moving into the Mexican sombrero dance (without sounding too awfully clichÃ©d) during â€œLa Raspaâ€. While a number of the tracks on â€œSights and Soundsâ€ are instrumental, it is the case that the most impressive track on this disc is not instrumental, but is the vocal-heavy â€œDelta Dawnâ€.
Using gospel-like arrangements to bolster the female vocals on the track, Esquivel allows the soulful singing present on the track to dominate. The driving rhythms created by this sultry voice allows back to traditional and spiritual music, and it is truly on this track where Esquivel moves beyond a sixties and seventies oddity and into the realm of serious and impressive mastermind. Esquivelâ€™s experimentation with the traditional track length means that tracks only last as long as ey wishes them to, instead of allowing a producer or label suit decide what exactly will sell the greatest amount of CDs (or records in Esquivelâ€™s day).
A special kudos has to be made for two distinct groups of individuals; first off, for those that actually put Esquivelâ€™s music to the original media and stored it for decades, and those at Bar/None for making the disc sound as vibrant and full as any soundboard recording. The discâ€™s longest track comes in â€œLa Mantillaâ€, and even at clocking in at twice the average Esquivel track, does not suffer at all from this extension. Rather, â€œLa Mantillaâ€ should be considered one of the better tracks on this album for its skillful transitions into distinct movements â€“ a grander version of â€œLa Raspaâ€, if you will. â€œThe Sights and Sounds Of Esquivel!â€ is much like a time capsule, and really shows to any up and coming bands that it is not too tremendously hard to come up with music that can be popped into a player and not have the slightest cobwebs on them. This brand of lounge music may not be the first choice for everyone, but the talent and interesting (diverse, too) compositions of Esquivel should be enough of an attractant to bring true music fans to this album like ants to sweets. Keep it up, Bar-None!
Top Tracks: Delta Dawn, La Mantilla
Esquivel â€“ The Sights and Sounds Of Esquivel! / 2005 Bar None / 16 Tracks / http://www.barnone.com / Reviewed 22 August 2005