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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion


By Ernest Barteldes
Published September 23, 2005


Although this band hails from Asbury Park, NJ (where The Boss got his start), their hearts are deeply rooted in the sounds of their Latino heritage, as they will tell you on the Spanglish-tinted “Spanish Radio,” and on the confrontational, anti-racist “Blanco Y Negro.” The influence of Carlos Santana is evident—both guitarist DeSoto and vocalist Albie Monterrosa admit being huge fans of his, and the band often closes its performances with covers of the master guitarist. Although the album successfully showcases their talent, it sounds far more contained than their raw, high-energy live set that gets audiences moving from the start. Among the best tracks, there are the hilarious “Chica de Miami,” which tells of an encounter with a Cuban girl in Florida, and “See Ya Again Soon,” which features James Guerrero’s rap-inspired vocal percussion. Skip “Chango,” the band’s incursion into AfroCuban religious territory, but pay close attention to the subtle beauty of “Amazed,” one of the straight romantic songs in the album.