Latin Playboys


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This second album from the Latin Playboys continues the avant-roots explorations of their first record. Omnipresent on Dose is Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake's signature production. The two are so good at what they do that they can make even an average song compelling due to the sonic wizardry of their recording techniques, and they utilize every trick in their lexicon here, from lo-fi vocals to distorted drums. David Hidalgo and Louie Perez do their part by conjuring up a wonderful variety of guitar tones, such as the exploding lead on the title track. However, the tunes here just aren't happening. Recording and production wizardry can only get one so far, and Dose is the result of technique trying to overcompensate for a temporary drop in imagination. This is not to say that there aren't some strong moments on this record. The smoldering "Lemon 'N Ice," featuring Jerry Marotta and Wendy & Lisa (of the Revolution fame), has almost a street-level Steely Dan vibe, and the opening instrumental, "Fiesta Erotica," features a heady dose of Irish and Middle Eastern tonalities. All in all, however, it is more likely to appeal to Froom/Blake fans than Los Lobos fans. Not a bad thing necessarily, but definitely a surprise for most who were expecting "La Bamba."

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