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Raul Malo
Higher Octave

cd cover Those looking for a Latin musical invasion have kept their eyes on Ricky Martin's hips or Jennifer Lopez's assets. But they missed the throat of Raul Malo. The Cuban-American singer fronted the alt-country Mavericks, but now steps out on his own, mixing North and Latin American styles effortlessly. With his big, hairy-chest of a baritone, Malo sounds like Roy Orbison, but he can also swing and play the sonero.

Malo opens with English rockers that move to Latin rhythms, but soon shifts to "Ya Tu Veras," which sounds like an Estefan production. Though his album is titled "Today," its un-ironic earnestness evokes yesterday, whether it's retro rock or old-school Latin. - Marty Lipp

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