Victor Hugo

Tropical Gangster: Salsa from Venezuela

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Victor Hugo, the man with a very literary name, is a longtime salsero. This album (actually recorded in Colombia) is a set of original Hugo material that's inspired by Venezuelan salsa and features a good, tight band with Hugo up-front (except on "Viva la Salsa," where he shares vocal duties with Kike Harvey). It's good and solid throughout, the type of thing to get the feet moving, but it lacks a serious kick of originality. Hugo sings well, but ultimately his voice is quite anonymous; there's little in it to really show who he is. The result is an album that errs on the good side of workmanlike, perfectly listenable without ever quite touching the heart.

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