La Santa Cecilia

Someday New

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AllMusic Review by

Hot on the heels of their Grammy-winning breakthrough album Treinta Días, Los Angeles' quartet La Santa Cecilia follow up with Someday New. There are four new songs, three indispensable covers, the original version of the "ICE El Hielo," and the radio version of "Monedita." Producer Sebastian Krys was re-enlisted to helm this set. The first single is "Cumbia Morada," fueled by Pepe Carlos' swirling accordion, Alex Bendaña's rocksteady, bubbling bassline, and Miguel "Oso" Ramirez's rolling percussion grooves. Attractions' drummer Pete Thomas' kit adds to the bottom end, while guest Andy Abad's stinging surf guitar weds cumbia to rock & roll. La Marisoul's lyric delivery is grainy, aggressive, and passionate like a flamenco singer's. "Como Dios Manda" is a gorgeous ranchera; soulful and tender, it reveals La Santa Cecilia's roots and comfort with the tradition. "Ven a Mis Brazos" is a bouncing polka with burning percussion and fine accordion work. The cover of Jose Jose's classic "Cuidado" is thoroughly reimagined. Though its cinematic scope remains, horns have been replaced by B-3, layers of accordion, snare, cymbals, and electric guitars. La Marisoul delivers a transcendent vocal that gives props to the original, but interprets it for a new age. The same goes for "La Morena," a classic Dominican dance tune. La Santa Cecilia reclaim its roots -- the tune is raw, primal, infectious -- a far cry from the slick merengue versions of the 1980s and '90s. The bilingual title track is a bright, catchy pop number whose refrain touches on retro-soul with trombone, B-3, piano, and snare. On their reading of the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever," a lilting requiento and percussion intro support La Marisoul's smoky croon, but a funky Caribbean groove replaces it and it transforms into a psychedelic cumbia. The album closer is the original version of "ICE El Hielo" a song about deportation. It connects to the Beatles' tune, in that John Lennon fought deportation from the U.S. himself. He would have understood "ICE El Hielo" better than most Anglos. Though the four new songs here are wonderful, it's the covers that make Someday New an accurate portrait of La Santa Cecilia. Not only does it reflect their musical depth, but it presents the diversity in their live show. Bravo!

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