‘Santana IV’ by Santana Album Review: A Passionate Sequel To Remember
Amidst news of band reunions like Guns N’ Roses and LCD Soundsystem, Santana IV is the most recent release by Santana, a group founded by lead guitarist Carlos Santana and fellow band members Gregg Rolie on keys and vocals, Neal Schon on guitar, Michael Carabello on bass and Michael Shrieve on drums. Having worked together in the 1960 and into the early 1970s,
‘Santana IV’ by Santana Album Review
In many ways, the new 16-track album picks up where its prequel Santana III left off 45 years ago in 1971. Opener “Yambu” arrives with the typical funky groove. Rhythmic carnival beats on the conga, stunning guitar solos that unfold with ease in the hands of Santana and Schon and elaborately layered keys make up the soundscape of Santana IV. The fusion of soul, funk, slow rumba and hard rock is what makes Santana so unique and lead single “Anywhere You Want to Go” delivers precisely on that promise of intricate dynamics and synthesis of styles.
“Fillmore East” is an intriguing nearly 8-minute long instrumental interlude, which builds the tension with echoic guitars and gentle irregular rhythm as the album progresses. It is one of the songs that not only demonstrates a highly mature compositional approach but also exposes the musicians passion for their legacy and artistry.
Any criticism that Santana might receive due to their long absence from the stage as a band is easily refuted by the rhythmic intensity, which the band seamlessly delivers. They may sound less energetic, but the underlying passion that feeds their music is still very much the catalyst for this album. The ballad “Sueños” takes a more lyrical turn with the addition of acoustic guitar to complement the rasping quality of the electric and ultimately delivers an earnest and sentimental atmosphere.
Closing track “Forgiveness,” another lengthy raving instrumental with occasional vocal interjections by Rolie is perhaps the most nostalgic of all both musically and thematically. With a down-tempo, spectral mode, showcasing the masterful interpolation of guitar solos, Rolie lends his vocals to a song that exhibits high spirituality and hopefulness.
Ultimately, most spectacular is perhaps the chemistry that the band exudes even after such a long hiatus. In spite of the varied creative paths that Santana’s members have taken over the years, Santana IV sees them going just as strong as they did at Woodstock in 1969. This is no sentimental comeback or a throwback to the good old days. Santana return with vigor and wisdom, ready to showcase their fine musicianship and have fun along the way.
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