Tommy Torres is known to wear many different hats in the Latin pop industry. After making his bones as a producer, Torres earned repute as a songwriter. From there it was only a slight shift in focus to performing his own material, and he was quickly pegged as an up-and-coming singer/songwriter. Simmering below the surface of pop stardom since his 2001 self-titled debut, Torres has become known for his accessible yet smarter-than-average style and sensibility. His 2008 release, Tarde o Temprano, further establishes him as a genre underdog/hero. Although the tonal palette he draws from is undeniably radio-ready, Torres' production style leans towards the dark, hipper side of pop. Co-producers Dan Warner and Lee Levin are both seasoned albeit underexposed veterans of the Miami Latin music scene. Together the three weave an evocative sonic fabric, significantly more sophisticated than standard pop fare. Most of the repertoire leans in one of two directions; sweeping Latin pop ballad, and brooding percussion-driven urban Jíbaro. The drum loop and cuatro/conga laced material is certainly the more evocative half. Album highlights include opening track "Por un Beso Tuyo" and Tego Calderón collaboration "El Trabjito." All the tracks flaunt Torres' inscrutable melodic sense and taste for subtle lyricism. Tarde o Temprano pushes the envelope on several fronts at once, yet it's quite listenable and quite hip.
AllMusic Review by Evan C. Gutierrez
feat: Tego Calderón