Santiparro – True Prayer

santiRating: ★★★½☆

Chances are that you haven’t heard of Santiparro, the solo project of Alan Scheurman, and while I never mean to underestimate you dear reader, chances are higher that you don’t know what Santiparro means. So you know, this name means “the lens that sees many things not usually seen,” which was given to Scheurman on a pilgrimage to Wirikuta, the sacred desert where Peyote originates. This should clue you in to the earthy, sacred, and ethereal nature of True Prayer, if the album artwork hadn’t already. Overall, these threads are the center of this album, weaving together along with the twisted psychedelic folk rock to create something the likes of which are hard to come by.

The whole album is very much grounded in nature, which is made obvious through the opening track “Sikuli,” which is merely the sound of birds chirping calmly, as if welcoming the day. In opening this way, Santiparro gets our minds in the right state of mind before he really begins. When he does on “The New Baktun,” you encounter the soft vocals placed gently atop the gently folksy blend of guitar and barely-there percussive elements, such as shakers. This makes for a simple and effortless sound, but one distinguished by the quality of each of the elements. There’s a sleepy, half-trancelike nature to the sound on this song, and this is just Santiparro getting started.

True Prayer, while it maintains this trancelike, ethereal nature through its duration, does pick up a bit. Songs like “Total Freedom,” build on the simple foundation, adding more layers and earthy dimensionality. The guitar sound is twangy, although still subtle and low in the mix; there is a lot going on here, but not overwhelming. “Where We’re From” is one of the most straightforward songs on the album, but it still incorporates the intricacies that you’ve come to enjoy already. There’s a shift to a more rock and roll temperament here, with little squalls of fuzzy electric guitar that scatter off along the edges. The vocals are more forceful, standing out in the mix and changing from whispery to full bodied and deep.

Now, while this album is enjoyable, it’s important to note that if this is your genre of choice, I think that True Prayer could easily move up in your eyes from good to great. For me, there doesn’t seem to be enough variety in song style for to sink my teeth into this album for the long run, but there are a good deal of worthwhile and sonically interesting tracks that makes for a pretty good debut, albeit a little long. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Santiparro.



Ok. You Win Santiparro

unnamed-4Pretty sure this is the third Santiparro track that I’ve tossed up your way, but I think it’s deserved.  He’s a songwriter that pulls from my Americana heroes like Wilco, then builds his own version of the style, adding various textures that build the sound into something unique.  In fact, it leans more towards pop construction than simple Americana, so I get the best of both of my favorite worlds. We’re just a few short weeks away from his album, True Prayer, which hits on the 24th via Gnome Life Records. Will it be the last song of his I post before then? Time will tell.


Download: Santiparro – Where We’re From [MP3]

More New Music from Santiparro

santiGOLDJust last week I encountered the music of Santiparro.  I was struck by the fragile quality of the vocals, placed gently atop these great little folk-influenced ballads.  On his latest single, that’s the case once again, though I turned my speakers up to the max so I could hear the tiny little details that lurk in the background of this song.  Clearly he’s made a name for himself already, as this song features that Kyp Malone chap from TVotR, so people are taking notice of his work, and I hope you’re one of those as well.  Look for his new album, True Prayer, to come out on February 24th via Gnome Life Records.

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Gentle Folk from Santiparro

santiGOLDI’ve felt rather contemplative lately (I just turned 35), and with such moods one must have the perfect soundtrack for wandering.  This track from Santiparro, featuring Will Oldham, has really hit home; I particularly love the way the strummed guitar comes across in the recording, not to mention the “whoo ooh” that accompanies every vocal phrasing.  He’s just a few weeks away from releasing his album, True Prayer, which should really be something to behold; look for it on February 24th via Gnome Life Records.

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