July 20th, 2018 | Album reviews

Capricho Del Diablo EP
Outside Insight

San Cha is running from the devil. She was nearly consumed. She’s Robert Johnson reborn, a queer folk hero tearing through L.A.’s eastside DIY cabal. Descending to L.A. from the Bay in 2015, she released the snarling new wave ranchera EP Capricho Del Diablo this summer to deserved fanfare. Each track is recorded in a single take—a.k.a. the gully way. The songs are tightly written, delivered as both punches and feints during an all-too-brief six cuts. The title track is a shuffling dirge, a lament on hopeless love, with its propulsive-then-languid structure mirroring the tragic romantic cycle of heartbreak and addiction. “Cosmic Ways” is a sly drug-reference-heavy metaphor about addiction to debt. She’s always been a sublime singer, but her low belt on this track is nearly criminal. San Cha’s calling card is her powerhouse voice, a tightly (and maybe sometimes barely) controlled instrument that pulls you to the cliff’s edge before coaxing you back to comfort. “Me Demandó” should be taught in schools. The playful counterpoint with her capable background singer, her voice dancing with abandon over the sauntering mid-tempo rhythms, her guttural cosmic shouts—it’s as affective as it is effective. The album sits nicely alongside Rosalia’s Los Ángeles, a pyrotechnics-packed album of guitar-driven dark flamenco ballads. San Cha takes a more fiery folk approach, centering her songs on recognizable melodies passionately delivered. The results are irresistible—a testament to her heart’s ability to outrun the demons in her head.