It is almost impossible to separate Tito & Tarantula from the Robert Rodriguez movies, Desperado and From Dusk 'Til Dawn, that made the band cult-level famous. And it's not surprising that Back to the Darkness, its first album in five years, is perhaps a tongue-in-cheek play on FDTD's title. With Tito & Tarantula, ironies abound. The most puzzling is how a band that got such high visibility from being associated with two important movies (at least to the hipster set) could have such a low profile when it comes to shows in their home country. These guys can hardly give records away in the States but are on major label EMI in Germany and spend way more time in places like Croatia and Bulgaria and Poland than Texas, California or New York. An even more puzzling element is how acts like Los Lonely Boys have built huge careers while Tito and crew, certainly as good musically and lyrically, have fluttered at the margins of the business. Be that as it may, El Paso-born Tito Larriva and his cohorts still bring the bacon when they step on the stage. Lead guitarist Steven Medina Hufsteter can hang with anybody when it comes to murky Texas boogie and Halloween surf licks like those preferred by Herman Munster or Batman. Though Tarantula's albums have been uneven over the years, Back to the Darkness is a true return to the psychedelic horror-flick form that gave the group its original vampire-vato appeal.
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