Named after the patron saint of musicians, LA’s La Santa Cecilia is a rarity among party bands: even though they’re fun, they concentrate on the songs and arrangements instead of the crowd-pleasing crap. And as musicians they’re as good as they come. Guitarist Gloria Estrada and bassist Alex Bendana come from the jazz world; accordion/requinto player Pepe Carlos refined his trade at LA’s Placita Olvera along with powerhouse singer “La Marisoul” (her personality and charisma are disarming, even if she growls a little too often for my taste); percussionist Miguel Ramírez is solid anywhere from rock to Afro-Cuban rhythms, and drummer Hugo Vargas is a metalhead. This, LSC’s second EP, was produced by Sebastian Krys (Carlos Vives, Shakira, Ricky Martin), who perfectly understood who these guys are and turned them into one of the bands to watch in 2011. Nothing is straight ahead here, but everything is so organic that you just sit and enjoy. “La Negra” is a brainy cumbia, and “Vengo” (my favorite) is a norteña closer to an Eastern European polka than Monterrey. “Uzumaki” doesn’t work, but that’s not just because it’s a demo: the song’s just not there. But the EP will leave you wanting more of La Santa Cecilia. I’m dying to see them live and hear a whole album.
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