Willie & Lobo

Fandango Nights

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The oft heard complaint that there's no originality in today's instrumental music gets a hearty challenge from violinist Willie Royal and acoustic guitarist Wolfgang Fink, collectively known to the world beat audience as Willie and Lobo. The duo base their hypnotic, Corona sipping, Puerto Vallarta bar based sound on various rhythmic elements, including ideas from traditional flamenco, and even classical improvisations. Their sophomore effort, Fandango Nights picks up where their debut left off, with Royal taking his strings to new romantic and percussive heights as Fink lays a Strunz & Farah like groove. The spiciest cuts offer rollicking swings and hints of rock and jazz (check out co-producer Rick Braun's trumpet on the title track). There's even a fascinating take on an Irish jig. But on the downside there seems to be too much jaunty experimentation ("Sweet Meanderings" is right) and attempts to be compositionally meaningful (read: dry balladry). With mostly sparse production, 14 cuts seems to be pushing it. Fuller and tighter might take this phenomenally unique pair to even greater heights.

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