Y La Bamba Fuse Sympathetic Emotions and Psychedelic Sounds on Compelling New Album “Lucha”

Y La Bamba 2023 photo
Photo by Jimena Zavala Lozano

It’s been a while since Y La Bamba released a studio album, almost four years since Entre Los Dos dropped in September 2019. But by the sound of their newest album, Lucha, the time gap has not diminished the music’s quality. Alternating between English and Spanish language tracks, Mexican-American lead singer and producer Luz Elena Mendoza Ramos, who recently collaborated with Juan Wauters on a new single, takes the project into new territory that reflects Y La Bamba’s penchant for creating fresh material that never lingers in one place for too long. If anything, Lucha, coinciding with a short film (watch it below) covering three of the album’s tracks, represents just how multifaceted music can be, reflecting the variety of lyrical topics and experimentation that never fails to stun.


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To classify the album as solely psych-rock would leave out so many adventurous tracks that deviate from what’s expected of the band. Unlike the breezy percussion and live instrumentation of the previously released “Dibujos De Mi Alma,” “Collapse” predominantly uses a sampler, which shows Ramos is unafraid to switch up the production when needed. Her vocals compliment the similarly swirling and mesmerizing guitar and bass, never clashing nor foreboding the sampler, creating a serene coming together of sounds also heard on “Hues.”


Featuring Devendra Banhart on a guest spot that moves in tandem with Ramos’ vocals wonderfully, “Hues” is calming, achieving colorful and stagnant serenity in its perfect mellow melodies. The tasteful inclusion of congas and bongos also helps to differentiate the song solely from sound as the lyrics reflect the swirl of instruments, all acting as paint brushes for Ramos’ abstract sonic canvas.

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Not everything is sunshine and rainbows, which couldn’t be more evident in “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” A cover of the timeless Hank Williams song, the band finds beauty in sadness and never completely unsettles through the sad subject matter. Bird chirps and other ambient noises breathe life into the otherwise defeated lyrics, showcasing Ramos’ emotional resonance.


That is ultimately what makes Lucha so moving. Anyone who’s suffered or navigated through complicated feelings can relate to the album’s constantly changing moods and sounds, capturing what it’s like to move on in life. Luckily, “Walk Along” closes on a hypnotic note, dancing through a psychedelic-latin fusion while reverberating vocals echo along. The horns help to wrap matters up, not in resolving the album’s emotional beats but in finding closure through a brighter and more optimistic gaze.

Words: David Sosa

Lucha by Y La Bamba is out on all streaming services. Tickets to their ongoing US tour are available now. For more on future music, follow Y La Bamba on Facebook, Instagram, and Bandcamp.

Y La Bamba Tour Dates

May 02 – Los Angeles, CA – Lodge Room
May 03 – Santa Barbara, CA – SoHo
May 04 – San Diego, CA – Casbah
May 05 – Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar
May 06 – Santa Fe, NM – El Rey Court
May 07 – Albuquerque, NM – Fusion 708
May 09 – Dallas, TX – Tulips
May 11 – McAllen, TX –Gremlin
May 12 – San Antonio, TX – Jaime’s Place
May 13 – Austin, TX – The Ballroom
May 16 – Washington, DC – Songbyrd
May 17 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
May 19 – Cincinnati, OH – Northside Tavern
May 20 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle
May 21 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry
May 23 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater
May 25 – Mexico City, MX – Foro Cultural Hilvana
July 19 – New York, NY – Central Park Summerstage *
Aug 27 – Port Townsend, WA – THING Fest
Oct 05 – Boston, MA – Emerson Colonial Theatre &
Oct 06 – Montclair, NJ – The Wellmont Theater &
Oct 07 – Port Chester, NY – Capitol Theater &
Oct 09 – Huntington, NY – The Paramount &
Oct 10 – Washington, DC – Warner Theatre &
Oct 11 – Durham, NC – Carolina Theater &
Oct 13 – Charlotte, NC – Knight Theater &
Oct 14 – Charleston, SC – Charleston Music Hall &

& – w/ St. Paul & The Broken Bones
* – w/ Julia Jacklin and Black Belt Eagle Scout