The politically engaged, L.A.–based Chicano group Quetzal draws on a mix of Latin and non-Latin genres to make its own sound. On 2012’s Imaginaries, the group’s essential building blocks are son jarocho, Afro-Cuban music, and American R&B. The opener, “2+0+1+2=Cinco,” rides a 5/4 groove while a traditional guitar known as the jarana colors the music. The group consistently uses interesting instrumental combinations: tarima (a wooden dance platform), violin, cello, and Fender Rhodes are just some of the instruments also on the track. “Luz y Miel” and “Duermete” find Quetzal working in an Afro-Cuban mode, and both tracks sound great. “Intifada,” which shows solidarity with Palestinians, hints at cabaret, old-timey folk, and son jarocho. The reconfigured salsa of “Por Eso” has some fine violin work from Rocio Marron and Tylana Enomoto. The most striking song here is “Time Will Tell,” which features Quincy McCreary on lead vocals. The cut has an unusual R&B/gospel vibe created by soaring vocal harmonies buoyed by Latin percussion.

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