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Music Review: Ozomatli Goes Pop

Music Review: Ozomatli Goes Pop

Ozomatli, "Don't Mess With the Dragon" (Concord Records)
There's a reason Los Angeles band Ozomatli opens its new album with a raucous song called "Can't Stop," in which they sing about moving on, groovin' and not living for yesterday.
The multicultural group with the hard-to-define sound has been around for more than a decade with just-shy-of-mainstream success. They've won Grammys and have been in movies and on TV, but their horn-heavy, bilingual, hip-hop-infused music makes them hard to pin down to one radio music genre.
So the group went decidedly pop on their latest album, "Don't Mess with the Dragon," hiring K.C. Porter, who has produced music for Ricky Martin and Santana.
"Don't Mess" almost feels like a first album. It brings the nine-member group back to its L.A. roots with songs like "After Party," a garage-band groove in the style of Los Lobos that's already a concert sing-along favorite, and "City of Angels," a rocking ode to their hometown.
There's a nod to reggaeton with songs like "Here We Go" and "Creo," though fewer songs are in traditional Latin forms or even Spanish _ an obvious departure from past records that have included more salsa, merengue and ranchera rhythms.
For a group with such underground success, going radio-friendly was a gamble that could have been disastrous. Instead, Ozomatli has produced a fun, upbeat album that thankfully doesn't totally abandon the band's style.


Updated : 2021-10-17 16:56 GMT+08:00