Saturday, June 03, 2006

COSTO RICO - Cosas Ricas (Ventilador)

The second outing for the nine piece roots-to-pop troupe from Barcelona, with the accent firmly on upbeat reggae mixed with rumba and rock is probably best served up live and loud. They’re not quite as edgy as Ojos de Brujo, and Lopez lacks the siren call of the ebullient Amparo Sanchez of Amparanoia, but it still comes as some surprise that the wave of popularity of Spanish (and more specifically Catalonian) roots music appears to have bypassed the band. Perhaps that’s because the catchy appeal to many of these tunes is lacking a little in grit or sparkle in a studio setting.
Led by female vocalist Meri Lopez, and boasting a sprightly horn section, you can certainly imagine them kicking up dust around the European festival circuit with their exuberantly delivered dance music.
There are plenty of moments to get you tapping your feet and/or singing along after a handful of plays. The opener Siendo Niño boasts a catchy ska rhythm that has a touch of The Selector about it, Corazon I is heavier on the roots reggae with a nice light dubby feel and rousing chorus, whilst El Tejado is rockier but with some pleasing blasts of Dexy’s-style brass.
But it’s all arguably a little too pleasant at times to be listened to in the comfort of your own home. You just find yourself willing for the band to leap out of the stereo, throw off the inevitable gloss of studio production and give the songs a good old shaking down.
This is music for the live setting, then, but at a certain volume I should imagine it makes for a perfect way to get a party going. Just make sure your neighbours are the understanding type.

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