Venezuelan singer/songwriter Luz Marina makes her debut for Cacao Música with 14 tracks of heavy-breathing soft numbers full of sexy insinuations and personal moments. It works. "Noche a Noche" ("Night to Night") and "Cómo Dueles" ("How You Hurt") were a little more my cup of tea, while the rest of the album might find welcoming ears in the Liz Phair/Stevie Nicks/Alanis Morissette-loving demographic. Of course, that's provided the latter is Spanish-speaking. Of note is the minimalist approach to production, which I found a huge relief, especially in the Latin market, where the opposite is the norm.
Most of the members of Music Is a Weapon boast enough years of playing under their belts to know a thing or two. Many of them were in the late, great South Florida act Al's Not Well (later Al Is Well, sometimes back to Al's Not Well, and so forth). This veteran ease is evident with the seamless chemistry of their playing in their current act. And what caught my ears first through the punk-rock-based fracas were the little instances of true musicianship that immediately set this band apart. Moments are heightened or relaxed through expert use of keys and synths, as well as through the commanding percussion work of José Olmedo. Kala, Brik, and Eddy are truly back in the South Florida music scene, and these eight tracks are proof positive.
Ultrachic's bandmates stand on a weird crossroad bridge where they sonically span the golden years of Venezuelan rock (Sentimiento Muerto, Dermis Tatu, Desorden Público) with the newer bloods who continue to make the racket (Zapato 3, Los Amigos Invisibles, Caramelos de Cianuro). The funny thing is that Ultrachic bass player Luis Golding actually played with Caramelos de Cianuro. He brings that band's international know-how to Ultrachic's power-pop tropical rock, with roots in punk, British invasion, and electro. Drummer Christian Mijares rounds out the rhythm, while the guitar and vocals of Manuel Diquez soar over everything, making the songs fun and danceable as fuck. "Cuando Cae el Sol" ("When the Sun Falls") and "Cerca del Oído" ("Close to the Ear") are repeat faves. Oh, and the packaging is extremely sexy!
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