Zemog El Gallo Bueno
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cd cover Zemog El Gallo Bueno
Cama de la Conga
Aagoo Records (www.aagoo.com)

Zemog El Gallo Bueno go for an eccentric, off-center sound based on Latin grooves but occasionally touching down elsewhere in the world. Since their last album they've relocated from Boston to New York City, where their slightly oddball approach no doubt serves them well. Cama de la Conga sounds unrefined and distinctly unpolished at times, but that's the beauty of it. The title translates as "Bed of the Conga" and percussion does indeed play a central role in laying out the Puerto Rican and Cuban-based rhythms. Beyond that there's horns capable of playing in impossibly tight unison or flying off the handle completely, guitar riffs that ring with rock, jazz, Latin and African accents, spacy effects, abrupt sonic shifts, vocals with attitude both genuine and feigned and songs that snare you with a mix of musical know-how and non-conformity. Lead vocalist/composer/multi-instrumentalist Abraham Gomez-Delgado is clearly influenced equally by the energy of rock and the richness of Latin music. He and his band are out to jam hard in addition to shaking things up just enough to stand out from the pack. This album certainly won't put you off if you're a fan of straight-up Latin roots, but a willingness to go a few steps beyond will reveal its pleasures all the more resoundingly. If it's both fire and fun you seek, you'll find more than enough of each. - Tom Orr

Available from cdroots.com

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