Tin Can Trust CD
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Los Lobos, the Grammy-winning East L.A. band, announces the release of their brand new studio album, Tin Can Trust, and it is the first collection of new original material in four years. The venerable quintet once again redefines itself and expands its scope, while never losing sight of where they come from. And, like so much of Los Lobos' previous work, Tin Can Trust is an album that speaks to the time and place in which it was conceived; the album's title can be traced back more than a century, but for the band, it's apt for the rickety state in which so many of us find ourselves and our world today. The 11 tracks on Tin Can Trust offer the perfect balance of Los Lobos' parts: the band's lineup has remained uninterrupted since 1984, when saxophonist/keyboardist Steve Berlin joined original members Louie Pérez (guitar, drums, vocals), David Hidalgo (guitar, violin, accordion, percussion, vocals), Cesar Rosas (guitar, vocals) and Conrad Lozano (bass, vocals), each of whom had been there since the beginning in 1973. Track listing: Burn It Down / On Main Street / Yo Canto / Tin Can Trust / Jupiter Or The Moon / Do The Murray / All My Bridges Burning / West L.A. Fadeaway / The Lady Of The Rose / Mujer Ingrata / 27 Spanishes.
Nearly all of the songs herein are Los Lobos originals, featuring various combinations of songwriting from David Hidalgo, Cesar Rosas and Louie Pérez. They sing two songs in Spanish, but the English efforts inevitably sound more like mainline North American rock by comparison. The Spanish pair (both penned by Rosas) lend more of an individualist flavour, at least to non-Hispanic ears. Then again, this is not a band attempting to connect with a world music audience.
The opening Burn It Down piles up country vocal harmonies over a strumming guitar weave, with blueswoman Susan Tedeschi guesting. The guitar solos are layered, usually jumping out of the left and right speakers with a simultaneous attack. Near-psychedelic phasing is set beside a 1950s twang. For a song with such nihilistic sentiments, it sounds rather resigned, until the final seething guitar solo makes its entrance.
It soon becomes apparent that a mood of steadfast firmness, a sustained state of laidback-ness, will dominate this disc. The guitar solos are always kept brief, for maximum clarity and attack, scratching and scribbling with targeted intent. Scraps of found environmental background noise periodically emerge from the combo's chugging wall of sound. Steve Berlin's organ and saxophone layering provides a crucial embellishment.
The title-track is a prime example of the album's dominant pace: downbeat and sluggish. Its words might deal with a penniless despondency, but the band's triple-guitar threat can always be relied upon to instil a fiery feeling. This relationship stands for the entire disc: lowdown lyrics meet guitar frazzle.
On Jupiter or the Moon, the guitars emulate trains passing across a distant plain, with synth and piano simultaneously colouring the horizon. Do the Murray is an instrumental barroom interlude, soon followed by The Grateful Dead's rambling West LA Fadeaway. The Dead's chief poet Robert Hunter also co-writes All My Bridges Burning, refreshing the wave of pessimistic existentialism.
The words throughout veer towards abstraction, allowing listeners to easily insert their own life experiences. A fatalistic aura pervades, a mood of timeless non-specificity. Even though the closing 27 Spanishes has more of a lyrical bite, it's still not particularly direct, ending up flashing a wry smile.--Martin Longley
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Top customer reviews
We get off to a great start with "Burn it down" with Susan Tedeschi on back-up vocals, closely followed by the loping blues-groove of "On Main Street". Both these tracks - along with the haunting title track, the rocking instrumental "Do the Murray" and the closing track "27 Spanishes" - have wonderful guitars from David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas. The band also covers the Grateful Dead's "West L.A. Fadeaway" and 'Dead writer' Robert Hunter shares the writing credits with Cesar Rosas on "All My Bridges Burning". And if you get tired of fabulous bluesy guitars and David Hidalgo's soulful voice then check out the Tex Mex polka of "Mujer Ingrata" and the cumbia swing of `Yo Canto'.
I can't recommend this record highly enough, this is a band who have been playing together for 35 years and are at the very top of their game, effortlessly turning out music of great quality that appeals both to the head and the heart. Although I don't think this is quite as good as "The town and the city" it's not far behind and I would love to see them touring Britain.
Along with David Hidalgo all the band regulars make full contributions with Cesar Rosas (guitar, vocals), Louie Perez (guitar, drums, vocals), Conrad Lozano (bass, vocals) e and the relatively new boy Steve Berlin (sax, keyboards) demonstrating all the accumulated musical wisdom of a band which has been together since 1973. Opener "Burn it down" is an excellent starter and rolls along nicely until Hidalgo once again turns on the dirty guitar pyrotechnics. Throughout the backing vocals by the American blues singer Susan Tedeschi are beautifully restrained. "Jupiter or the moon" shows the bands strength in depth in terms of songwriting with a slow burning classic that has some echoes of Traffic, seek it out its a great song. "Yo canto" is one of those effortless Mexican songs that the band produces that conjure up images of hot LA nights and too much tequila. "All my bridges burning" is a slow blues pot boiler with a brilliant emotive vocal from Perez. Finally the closer "27 Spainishes" is a massive highlight starting with a graduated but funky guitar coda it chronicles the Spanish conquest of Aztlán and coveys enough cimematic images to be turned into a motion picture.
Andy Gill in the Independent recently described Los Lobos as America's "most reliable supercharged bar-band". It is a nice compliment but one which does not fully convey the sense of adventure and virtuosity at the core of this new album, for while "Tin can Trust" might be the bands 14th album it is clearly one of their greatest.
Are these really the same band who produced those marvellous albums those years ago. Nothing here has that verve, orginality, enthusiasm, and sheer delightful melody. At worst they sound like a send oup of a bad mariachi band. Even the recording quality is dire - I think an old 45 monophonic on a Dansette would sound better.
Buy their early albums and avoid this tripe.
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