Pysch-rock act returns with new lineup and new album of streamlined songs

There’s a Brujas del Sol record that’s pretty much done, just sitting on a computer at Relay Recording. But after some lineup changes, Brujas guitarist Adrian Zambrano realized the band wasn’t the same. Gone were the 20-minute epics, replaced by more concise songs that got to the point quicker and involved the entire band in the writing process. 

“[Bassist] Derrick [White] and I gave up total control,” said Zambrano, seated next to new drummer Josh Oswald at an Old North bar (Phillip Reed rounds out the new lineup on synth and guitar). “It’s a much more collaborative process where everyone has an opinion. It made us a much stronger group of friends and stronger band. The last record struggled because maybe I shouldered too much of it. Maybe I didn’t have the ideas to finish it. I don’t really know.” 

On the psych-rock act’s excellent new album, II, Brujas del Sol also stretched itself by moving away from instrumental music to include lyrics and vocals, which are handled mostly by Oswald and Zambrano, who wrote a bulk of the lyrics while playing guitar on a six-week tour with Lo-Pan.

Songs like “Fringe of Senility” and “White Lights” deal with themes of darkness and light, and Zambrano traces some of that back to a difficult family situation. “A couple years ago my mom had some health issues, so I think a good portion of going through dark — the issues — to the light — which is the issue being resolved — was a big thing for me during that time,” he said. “She’s fine now. She’s blind in one eye, but that was hard to talk about. It drives you mad. You look up to your parents so much. They’re always this invincible thing. Then you get older and stuff starts to happen.

“Josh mentioned yesterday about his dad calling him to help out around the house. Same with my dad. That was never a thing 10 years ago. My dad would never call me and be like, ‘I need your help.’”

The lost record may see the light of day at some point, but Zambrano said it was a darker record with angry undertones, which stands in contrast to II. “A good portion of this album, even if we’re talking about going from dark to light, a lot of the material tends to be more uplifting,” he said. “When the four of us get together, we’re not dark dudes. We’re laughing and going to Taco Bell after shows. ... Music is a serious thing. It means a lot to a lot of people. But there’s no reason we can’t have fun with it.”