Daptone Records, 2013

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


When I think of current music from New York City I tend to think of ultra fashionable indie rock bands with outrageous appearances and outfits that are straight from the Goodwill's discount bin. A quick scan of my record collection confirms there is some truth to this thought. With that said, Melaza is a nice break from ironic mustaches and 'Where's The Beef' T-shirts as this Afro-Latin outfit draws influence from salsa and soul music as well as their sister group, Los Hacheros. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

When disc opener "Mal Amigo" starts, you best clear a path from all angles, as you'll be ineluctably moving at the fiery percussion, salsa rhythms and bouts of horns. Melaza make friends pretty quickly with this infectious first track. From there, things get calm with the sparse "Estas A Tiempo," which uses hushed percussion and restrained horns to tell a story I can only imagine is reflective and sophisticated. 'Fregabook" brings the energy back, and sounds like the soundtrack to a travel package where the beaches are laid out in an endless expanse. Renzo Padilla handles most vocal duties here and they all match up perfectly with the rapid rhythm section, as the remainder of album displays lively horns mixed with proficient percussion, especially on album highlight. "Abusador." Elsewhere, they dip into calmer waters with the aching yet soothing "Inesperado Adios."

With trumpets, trombones, congas, timbales, corps, bongos and several other instruments most people have never heard of, the 14 players here laid this down on analog tape to preserve the spontaneous club feel it emulates so well. In their mission statement, Melaza state they can't recall a time when they would venture to a club and be immediately awed by a new record's 'complexity and beauty.' Well, if you share the same sentiment, to rectify the problem all you need to do is give a listen to Melaza.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2014 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Daptone Records, and is used for informational purposes only.