Monsieur Periné has followed up its highly acclaimed sophomore album Caja de Música — which garnered the Bogota-based band a Latin Grammy for best new artist in 2015 as well as a 2016 Grammy nomination for best Latin rock, urban, or alternative album — with Encanto Tropical, a vision of tropical musical reveries.
Consisting of multi-instrumentalist Santiago Sarabia (guitar, violin and charango), singer Catalina García and guitarist Nicolás Junca, the band has beautifully evolved their original version of Django Reinhardt-inspired Gypsy jazz — what the group calls "suin a la colombiana" or "Colombian-style swing" — into Latin-pop hybrids that take full advantage of García's crystalline voice, sensual delivery and elegant phrasing.
Encanto Tropical benefits from guest appearances sourced from the vibrant Latinx alt-rock scene, as well as the magic touch of producer Eduardo Cabra (also known as Visitante, formerly of the stellar Puerto Rican hip-hop duo Calle 13). Cabra added, for example, a post-colonial nod to the band's French jazz influences in references to songs such as Guadeloupean singer Francky Vicent's "Fruit de la Passion."
The new album is also more noticeably informed by recent golden eras of Latin-American music, from Mexico's torch-song boleros from the '40s and '50s to jazz-imbued 20th-century Argentine tango to the somewhat cheesy but utterly enjoyable romantic ballads within Latin pop of the '70s and '80s.
With Encanto Tropical, all that is old becomes new again, as Monsieur Periné filters the past with charm, grace and a knowing wink (as befits a band that took their name from the French word for "perineum.")
Framed by swinging bass beats and occasionally punctuated by horns, "Veneno" ("Venom") shakes and shimmies with a touch of cabaret, warning of the venomous bite of desire.
Jazzy guitar strumming, tango-imbued bass lines and a melancholic accordion sway alongside García's vocals, as she suggests a lover "stay on her skin" for one night before she leaves forever, in a song titled after — what else? — the guayaba, or "passion fruit."
With retro organ notes, "La Tregua" ("The Truce") references the crooning strains of Latin pop heartbreak ballads of the '70s, refreshing them with psychedelic guitar twangs and a duet with Vicentico, of Argentina's renowned rock band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs.
The album's title song adds snappy whistling to Monsieur Periné's instrumental repertoire, as it's lyrics articulate the album's musical blueprint: an ode to the eternal enchantment of the tropics and a people whose music is scented by the aromas of cane sugar and coffee.
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