Marc Ribot y los Cubanos Postizos
Drop artist names like John Zorn, Arto Lindsay and John Lurie's Lounge Lizards, and chances are you'll never hear someone shout ¡Muy Divertido! (Very Entertaining!) All accomplished musicians, but not exactly music that procures smiles and exclamation. Guitarist Marc Ribot has worked will all three, plus sat in with plenty more of New York's avant-garde. His own independent albums and ear-bleeding live shows reflect the same punked-up discord, but damn it, a guy's got to eat once in a while. Enter Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos ("The Prostetic Cubans"), a funky crew of hip Latin-flavored cats who actually let Marc Ribot swing, in addition to paying his light bill. ¡Muy Divertido!, the collective's second outing, confidently picks up where their self-titled debut left off. The drums are louder, the guitar more erratic and less logical, and a contingency of guest artists jump in contributing vocals, organ and additional percussion.
Surprisingly, ¡Muy Divertido! opens with a wet blanket "Dame un Cachito Pa'Huele" -- another Arsenio Rodriguez cover that should be full of kick, but is hashed out like a mush mouthed wedding band after too many rum and cokes. Steam slowly builds over some satisfying Ribot originals thereafter ("Las Lomas de New Jersey," "El Guacho Rojo") before hitting full throttle mid-album with two blazing cuts: "Se Formo el Bochinche," full of tasty old-school organ and congas, and the knock-out punch of "Baile Baile Baile" -- a wild and wooly original where Ribot finds unlikely harmony between smooth Latin grooves and over amplified electric guitar. Ribot smartly pushes the sonic envelope, jerks your ears back to the melody, then hits you with another thunderous wave of guitar chords. ¡Muy Divertido! essentially sounds like a punk rocker trying his damnedest to be a lounge lizard, but the suits and polished shoes just aren't tight enough to contain him. Thank God. - Todd Dominey