Freedom Is Free, which was released last month. “Angel Baby” drifts away with languidly soothing Fifth Dimension–style harmonies, while lead singer Bardo Martinez evokes Curtis Mayfield on the funky plea “Friendship (Is a Small Boat in a Storm).” The enchanting grooves belie the confrontational lyrics of “The Taker Story,” in which Martinez decries environmental destruction and “mass killings and mass graves” during a coolly pointed litany of man’s sins against the planet. Even when the lyrics become defiant, bassist Eduardo Arenas and guitarist Carlos Arévalo continue to lay down a series of hypnotically funky riffs.
After appearing the past two weekends at Coachella, Chicano Batman linger on the eastern fringes of L.A. County to play this all-ages venue in Pomona. The local Latin-soul combo exude more confidence and reveal more musical variety on their third album,