Las Rubias Del Norte’s third album, Ziguala, seems to combine familiar Latin American elements, such as Spanish guitar, creaking underlying percussion, and clicking castanets, with a contemporary indie rock feel. The band’s Spanish name makes it seem a little predictable in that regard, but in fact, there’s much more than meets the eye.

Ziguala is not simply steeped in Spanish and Latin American influences, but in a wide array of European styles. The title of the album, Ziguala, is actually a term of endearment in Greek. The tracks “Mana Janab Ne Pukaara Nahin” and “Seguedille” are actually Hindi and French tracks, respectively. In fact, many of the songs on the album are actually cover songs, culled from various European sources and manipulated in Las Rubias’ own way. However, the band seems to experiment more with the context and worldy importance of their music rather than with their actual music. Most of Ziguala seems to invoke the same moods, and the Latin American filter pulled over the tracks is comfortable — perhaps even a little too comfortable at times.

It is in the vocals that some really interesting variations appear — if you’re paying attention. They’re pretty slight. Dual vocalists Allyssa Lamb and Emily Hurst have complementing voices which tend to rise over the relaxed nature of the music. One has a vocal airiness which is harmonized upon by the other, and both manipulate their vocal tendencies to suit the roots of each track. Opener “Porque Te Vas” is sung in a fairly straight-forward manner, “Mana Janab Ne Pukaara Nahin” contains vocal variations often found in Bollywood music, and “Scalinatella” has nearly operatic, minorly ear-piercing vocals.

In the end, Ziguala is simply just comfortable to listen to. Make it the soundtrack to a dimly lit bar, the background to a Southwest pool party, or the guiding force behind your household chores, and it all feels appropriate. This isn’t music that will change your life, but it is enjoyable.


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