Latin Playboys

Latin Playboys

The Latin Playboys are a side project for David Hidalgo and Louie Pérez of Los Lobos, who are joined by Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake. Froom and Blake worked as producer and engineer, respectively, on Los Lobos’ brilliant 1992 release, Kiko, and they apply some similar studio sleight of hand (plus instrumentation) to these 14 Hidalgo/Pérez compositions. An unlikely marriage of accessible and avant-garde, the album is made up of colorful scraps that flow like whole cloth. Impressionistic snapshots like “Mira!,” “Manifold de Amour,” “Rudy’s Party,” and “Pink Steps” incorporate ingenious percussion, samples, and snippets of field recordings that include barking dogs and sirens bleeding into the mix. “Lagoon” is spoken word against a dreamy soundscape, while “Ten Believers,” “If,” “Crayon Sun,” and the utterly charming “Forever Night Shade Mary” are soulful, more straight-forward (relatively speaking) tunes crafted from fragments of R&B, blues, and Mexican folk. Mysterious, alluring, and deeply beautiful, this is experimentalism as high art.

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