Despite its political posturing and lyrics about revolution, Ocote Soul Sounds‘ latest album, Coconut Rock, reveals itself to be a lover, not a fighter.
C’mon… The lilting funk guitar riffage and perky vintage keyboard notes mixed with slow, rhythmic Latin percussion and sensual multilingual vocal harmonies. Relaxing world-music flute and seductive female vocals singing in Portuguese. This album should come with mood candles and a bottle of wine. Especially for the sensual-sounding songs like the title track, the down-tempo synthy funk/dub of “El Diablo y el Nau Nau” and the take-it-slow-and-easy “Vendendo Saude e Fe”.
Whether or not they intended it, Latin music maestros Martín Perna and Adrian Quesada have crafted a damn fine album for a romantic evening. If you’re familiar with Austin’s Latin music scene but not this band, I describe Ocote Soul Sounds as a mellower and moodier Brownout. They bring world music and funk elements to the table, but at a more relaxed pace than Brownout. You might recognize band leader Perna from his work with the New York neo-afrobeat collective Antibalas.
Coconut Rock is not a one-dimensional album; “Prince of Peace” and “Cara de yo no Fui” would make good party jams. But my favorite song on the album is also the most out of place musically: “Vampires” is the most overtly political and the only song in English. With a chorus like “Vampires, vampires—red, white, and blue”, there’s no mistaking the meaning of this acoustic-guitar-driven political ballad. I wish there had been more songs like this on the album. It’s fantastic.
A recently released Deluxe Edtion of this album is now available, which adds five remixes. My favorite is Tony Questions’ “Electric Cockroach”, which gives the opening track “Revolt of the Cockroach People” a harder, more rock-oriented edge. The other remixes are okay, but don’t really say anything new about their originals, which is what a good remix should do.
You can buy the Deluxe Edition from Amazon.com here.