| Street Signs
a ryan j mack review
It's summer, it's hot tonight, and I want a mojito.
Why? Because it's tall and refreshing, and after a hard day kicking
back with one washes a little bit of the worry away, giving you
a chance to enjoy the scenery from a porch - any porch.
It is fitting LA's Ozomatli to release their new CD, Street Signs,
in time for this glorious wave of heat and motion. It underscores
and enhances a night like this one.
The cd plays like a walk down the street of a city in some American
melting pot ideal. The score swings loosely from influence to
influence, not reproducing as much as welding together a framework
of cultural girding that underpins a contemporary facing. Lyrics
rap and slide out in multiple languages- - political and social
and sometimes just plain fun banners and graffiti on the structural
base. It is, of course, almost totally unique.
The first single, Saturday Night, is already a radio and soundtrack
hit, poised for further success in commercials if the group would
want. But the CD opens with touches of Rai-style dance-tastic
Believe, followed by a Latin flavored Love and Hope. They take
full advantage of the backup provided by the Prague Sympohony,
exploring a range from Bollywood to jazz to North African to Arabic.
Some songs are often politically heavy-handed and rhythmically
repetitive-notably Who's To Blame and Santiago, respectively.
But Dona Isabelle comes in - a soft, surprising piano piece that
retains the overall urban feel, like a breath of wind sliding
between tall buildings across hot pavement, and the whole thing
ends lightly with Cuando Canto, a sunset on the steel and glass.
Pop it in one of the days when you're not quite sure what you
want and indulge. It defies classification - which might just
be what they're going for.