Amparanoia

Feria Furiosa

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The title (it translates as "Furious Fair") tells the tale of the second Amparanoia disc -- the group traveled to Basque country to record and the music reflects the hard-edged, high-energy company of the guest artists they invited. Blues influences are down, the guitars rock harder and roar louder, the reggae quotient is way up -- and the constants are another set of strong songs and Amparo Sánchez's commanding vocal personality. The Latin focus remains as well, but the tempos are breakneck compared to those found on El Poder de Machín, whether on heavy tropical blasts like "La Pared" or when "La Maladición" takes off on salsa jets. Javier Muguruza's Basque-style accordion blends with Latin trumpet on "Especies" and the woozy, bluesy reggae rock of "Desperado" before its midsong ska blastoff. "Juán Negro" has a similar feel, one close to Bob Marley & the Wailers' "Lively Up Yourself," while "Tomasa" takes the Latin tinge in the direction of traditional orisha chants. All the transitions, jumps, and shifts come across as natural, not any kind of forced eclecticism or another case of rockers playing around with traditional styles. It's Amparamoia turned up to 11, but Feria Furiosa succeeds because, amidst all the high energy and skillful tumult, the dominant element shining through again is the voice of Amparo Sánchez.

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