'Sonidos Gold' Reviewed

'Sonidos Gold' Reviewed

Grupo Fantasma

Sonidos Gold (Aire Sol)

Wah-wah guitar flips the circuit breaker, and in rolls a banging boogie, the drum circle doing laps under the organ as a Spanish street barker starts versing, horns blaring over hot coals of percussion. At precisely 1:53, the breakdown: that one neon keyboard figure lighting every pan-Latin Afro-Caribbean carnival for the last 200 years, its warm dopamine drenching your forebrain like Jennifer Beals' chair-arched bath in Flashdance. That the hook boils down to one minor key matters nada, because that's the exact moment Sonidos Gold meets your price. An Esquivel-ish filigree on the end solo of "Rebotar" spikes more pure pleasure. Instrumental hypno-shimmy "Cumbia de los Pajaritos" ("Cumbia of the Little Birds") translates The Jungle Book into Haitian, while the Maceo Parker-guested "Gimme Some" loosens a lava trickle of Santana. All three pachangas, in the wake of the aforementioned cover of Cuban fusionistas Irakere's "Bacalao con Pan," core this ore. From the opening sternum bump popping this piñata to trombone-salted bachelor pledge "Soltero" and Morricone-kissed closer "Perso Fra i Mesquites," Grupo Fantasma's fourth album cashes in. "Arroz con Frijoles," serving up an island chorus and deep-down tan, rocks an early-evening belly rub. Then comes the breakdown: whistles ablaze, pots a-bang, and a race across bongo tops. I'll have what they're having.

***.5

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