Following 2007's successful Dos Pájaros de un Tiro joint tour, rock en español poet Joaquín Sabina and Catalan singer/songwriter Joan Manuel Serrat now team up for their first studio effort, La Orquesta del Titanic. Having drawn parallels with the group of musicians who played on while the iconic ship was sinking and the pair continuing to perform during the current economic crisis, you might expect that its 11 tracks attempt to put the world to rights. But there's little in the way of any clear social or political messages on a record that, at times, evokes a drunken knees-up, particularly on the debauched "Quince o Veinte Copas," which ends with a bizarre flurry of kazoos and indecipherable mutterings, and the triumphant lock-in singalong of "Idiotas, Palizas y Calientabraguetas." Even on the more sobering affairs, such as the country-tinged "Acuérdate de Mi" and the fingerpicking acoustic balladry of "Hoy por Ti, Manana por Mí," they appear far more concerned with romance than any rallying call to arms. But while the duo often seems to be having more fun than the listener, there are several moments worthy of sitting alongside the best of the two artists' respective back catalogs, from the Christmas carol lullaby of "Canción de Navidad" to the gentle jazz shuffle of the title track to the emotive bossa nova of "Martínez." La Orquesta del Titanic may not live up to Serrat & Sabina's usual standards but, overall, it's hard to resist the pair's old-school charms.
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien