How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
On its first album, Bull Feathers (Jerk Shack Records, 2004), The Rare Bird Rumba Ranch unveiled its combination of Tex-Mex, bubbling Latin rhythms, knotty jazz saxophone, and oddball, even silly lyrics. On Pornos For Peace Keepers , these Rare Birds solidify and refine their approach, only this time their lyrics are edgier and more political.
This rhythm section fairly bursts with energy, as bassist Taylor Bergren-Chrisman and percussionist Greg Stare generate both heat and light, carrying momentum throughout this short program. However, for jazz fans, the greater interest will most likely be found in the improvising of saxophonist Michael Attias, who brings his avant-garde background to his playing here. His use of free music devices on top of bracing Latin rhythms generates considerable excitement. Joshua Camp's accordion solos are imaginative and thoughtfully structured, and he makes his ungainly instrument swing.
Without question, Pornos For Peace Keepers is engaging listening. The solos are substantial, the interplay is empathetic, and the rhythm section really cooks. While the vocals threaten to keep this one at the level of a novelty record, the rhythms should keep your foot tapping all the way through.
Track Listing: The Almighty Swallows, Sticks And Stones, El Tren, Funny Cry Happy, Goodbye Mi Amor, Minimalist Merengue Meditation.
Personnel: Greg Stare, conga kit, lead vocal, percussion; Michael Attias, alto saxophone, bean charmer, vocals; Joshua Camp, accordion; Taylor Bergren-Chrisman, bass, vocals; Emily Hurst, vocals; Allyssa Lamb, vocals.