N'Klabe

La Nueva Escuela: Nu School

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

For consumers of youth-pitched music, "I like this group" and "My mother approves of me liking this group" rides a very fine line. The three handsome young vocalist of N'Klabe continue to ride that line with their 2007 release La Nueva Escuela. The music is enjoyable, the performances good by and large, and the trio touts the "we're the good boys" look shamelessly. The arrangements throughout are slightly hipper than on previous releases, with a few interesting turns and twists that the group would not have attempted on their first two discs. There are moments when the soneros approach that first-tenor-burn sound currently owned by Huey Dunbar and Marc Anthony. The trio's sound is maturing, even approaching a place where they could be considered competitive with other contemporary salsa groups. Still, taking all of the "street" out of salsa is a precarious proposition. There are moments of eye-rolling lameness. Luckily, Hector, Felo and Ricky's brilliantly white teeth buy them a get out of jail free card. Their rapidly maturing music could cause some to forget that N'Klabe are still a youth salsa group. The repertoire and production on La Nueva Escuela are consistently fresh, clean, and lively. Top to bottom, a very fun listen and a good disc, with a little room to grow.

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