For their fourth studio album, Spanish group Chambao let frontwoman La Mari take the helm on essentially all composing, arranging, and production. The result is something decidedly not in the vein of straightforward Spanish music. Influences of Africa and Mexico are thrown into the mix conspicuously, but without stealing the show entirely. While the opening track lays the North African percussion on a bit thick, the sound becomes more subtle as the album progresses, incorporating elements of rhythm and timbre from other realms, but not quite taking over an otherwise solid melodic line. But only for a bit. "Detalles" comes out of the gate as an Indian ghazal of sorts before looping into something with a bit of Spanish influence. Along with ethnic instrumentation, there's a fair bit of electronica mixed into the production, making for a contemporary (dare it be called "adult contemporary") sound from time to time -- "Caprichos de Colores" being a prime example. It's only in a couple of spots that the sound really becomes traditional in a full form, with Puerto Rican sounds, no less, in "El Viejo San Juan" and more traditional flamenco with Enrique Morente in tow on "Respira." The album can never quite choose a sound, or a style, or a mood and stick with it, but it's always striking.
AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg