Bohemian/Latino septet LoCura emerges from the San Francisco Bay Area with a global sound and attitude.
Group vocalist Kata Miletich is a native of Spain with an American father, and she freely segues from Spanish to English and back on most of the tracks of “Semilla Caminante/Traveling Seed” as she gives voice to the people and questions authority. Meanwhile, the band sprouts from a flamenco foundation to incorporate many other music forms, Latin and non-Latin alike.
“Semilla Caminante” sounds fittingly organic and loosely structured, sometimes like a semi-orchestrated jam.
Miletich is a chameleon, beguiling with a delicate voice on opening cut “Prendela,” emoting with grandiose flair on “Con el Viento” and switching to party mode on the ska-inflected “Squatters’ Song.” Additional vocal twists range from the rambling delivery on the hip-hop-kissed “Manzanilla” to the crooning of “Nuestros Caminos” to a child-like bounce on the playful indictment of greed, “To’ Pa’ Mi.”
The music is even more diverse than the vocals. Beyond the Latin influences plus ska, pop and R&B, LoCura shifts from funk-rock (“Que Falta”) to modified reggae (“Te Sigo”). Bob Sanders’ acoustic guitar brings with it dignity, Rachael Bouch-D’s percussion adds consistent vivacity, Izzy Weiser’s bass anchors riveting rhythms, and Danny Cao’s trumpet frequently steals focus with its soulful strains.
The group tends to mix things up within a song, sometimes to their detriment. Although “To’ Pa’ Mi” powers to an exhilarating finish and “Manzanilla” pushes into a captivating cadence, other tracks seem to switch up for the sake of change, creating confusing stretches that feel like informal filler. And “Semilla Caminante” isn’t served well by clunky closer “Reflections,” which reinforces the murky air that periodically materializes throughout the release.
Yet overall, the band’s endearing spirit prevails.
Rating: 3 stars (out of five)
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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