With the same weathered charm and deep history as their Buena Vista bretheren, the Gipsy Kings use the simplest tools to make music that can move your feet, your heart and your soul.
With the feeling of an old-fashioned, locally produced radio show picked up accidentally while touring through the Andes, the Kings latest excursion into their patented high-spirited rumba-flamenca
harbors a strong South American bias, complete with a chiming charango
(armadillo-shell lute) and vintage-sounding squeezeboxes. They also send a big, wet smooch to the late, lamented original Buena Vista Social Club with a delightful cover of Chan Chan
. Although less slick than much of their earlier catalog, the set list presented here is also far from rustic and still fairly restaurant-friendly, with kicking bass lines, applied echoes, rhythmic augmentation (as though these guys needed any!) and plenty of other tech-oriented touches; but happily, these dont get in the way. The leather-lunged yet suavely romantic vocals are as soulful as ever, the guitars as round-toned yet insistent, and the handclaps as festive. But the real good news is that the band seems to have recovered both their primal chops and their sense of humor. Marred only by very occasional bits of over-production and a remarkably chintzy running-time of just over 45 minutes, the album is very nearly perfect, an effervescently virile project that continues and consolidates the career-reviving upswing begun with Roots
, back in 2004. --Christina Roden