Rodrigo y Gabriela – Area 52

The latest offering from Rodrigo y Gabriela, Area 52, sees the duo collaborating with Cuban orchestral outfit C.U.B.A. Together, they rework a fair number of tracks from their eponymous 2006 album and indulge their audience with a couple of newbies, and the duo say that they “felt like Mulder and Scully” when it came to the record. Well, it certainly gave me a strange feeling when I listened to it.

Opening track ‘Santo Domingo’ is perfect for those times when you’re hiding from the police in a Taco Bell, in an episode of 1970′s wakka-wakka-fest Starsky and Hutch – or is that just me? But seriously, it’s a great way to start an album. It  made me feel like getting on my feet and dancing with a beautiful young lady. I was overwhelmed with masculinity and soul-funk sexuality.

Following on, ‘Hanuman’ is very much metal in its roots – you can just hear the ferocity that permeates through the track. I do detect some Santana in there too, which would normally be a bad thing for me to point out, but it really does work. Again, the imaginary young ladies were dazzled with my fancy footwork. “Ooh la la” as they don’t say in Mexico.

‘Ixtapa’ and ’11:11′ are a bit too long, I feel. Running at a total of just over fifteen and a half minutes between the two, it did seem like I was just waiting for it all to end. That could just be impatience on my part, however, there were certain moments that felt quite “waiting for my main course in Chimichanga’s” in an emotional sense.

‘Master Maqui’ brings everything back up to the gold standard, with the vim and vigour you’ve come to expect. Nothing much to say, other than that. Sometimes when you know a track is good, you just need to know that it’s good and nothing else.

Out of the next three tracks – ‘Diablo Rojo’, ‘Logos’ and ‘Juan Loco’ – ‘Logos’ is the least filler-like. It’s a lovely downtempo number that is just delightful to listen to. I would go as far to say that it is the best track on the album.

Area 52‘s final track ‘Tamacun’ is certainly a reason why we have ears. It may not have the major punch that most of the rest of the album has, but it goes a long way in cementing the duo’s legacy in the ways of the guitar.

Suffice to say, I did feel the urge to constantly think to myself “oh, now that’s impressive” or “oh, well done. What a lovely bit of…picking…”, but from a personal perspective, I wouldn’t have the urge to play this on a constant loop. It’s just very impressive background music.

Rating: ★★★½☆