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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America


By Ramiro Burr
Published September 13, 2005

Sweet & Sour, Hot & Spicy
Higher Octave

Mexican singer-songwriter Ely Guerra follows up her knockout Stateside debut, 2002's Lotofire, by changing directions. If on Lotofire (and her two previous Mexican albums) she was a quirky, arty chanteuse; here she parties down with freewheeling, jam-filled rock that bounces from genre to genre. Now rocking a huge Afro to go with her party persona, Guerra swings through a brooding, nostalgia-evoking set of guitar rock stylings. "Mas Bonita" sounds like Iron Butterfly jamming out with a mellowed out Janis Joplin while "Puerto Vallarta" has a light bossa-nova feel. As a singer, Guerra recalls the whispery vocals of Suzanne Vega, and here her best grooves are the breezy pop of "Besame," and the nostalgic-sounding "Quiereme Mucho," which evokes the strange vision of a rock and roll speakeasy.