From the moment it starts, there's no doubt that this an album of now. Energetic, assertive and joyful, it does what you want a record to do: it changes the mood and makes life seem full of possibilities.
Reaching back to flamenco and rumba, grabbing handfuls of hip hop, dub and modern-sounding drum licks and bass lines (but not drum-and-bass!), the group makes forward-looking music that could definitely have been made only in Spain and probably only in Barcelona.
Usually, the most interesting popular music has been made far from the cities where the major international record companies have been based.For the twenty years from 1952 to 1972, the American South was the best place to make adventurous records. For the next thirty it could have been Kinshasa in Zaire or the capital cities of Guinea, Mali or Senegal.Right now, some of the most creative locations are bordering the Mediterranean: Marseilles, Naples, Istanbul, Cairo, and especially Barcelona.
It's not a matter of simply moving to the right place and expecting the magic to rub off; you have to be based there, be part of the culture, and be able to absorb some of what is flying through the air around you. Ojos de Brujo is the band in the right place at the right time.Although the group (whose name means "Eyes of the Wizard") previously made a good debut album, Vengue, it featured the lead vocals of Dani, leader of another Barcelona group, Macaco, and it did not have the distinctiveness of Bari, which is in many ways a new beginning.
The vocals are now shared between Marina La Canillas and Lucy, and it is their interplay that gives the album its character.First time through, the song that particularly jumped out was 'Nalta', its strong flamenco elements updated without being softened or processed.But with each play, the inventiveness of the groups style and the consistency of the material become more apparent.
Try a sample.If you like one track, you're going to like it all.Its not often a reviewer can be so confident.