Words by Russ Slater
Best Latin American album this year?
After plugging away through various stylistic incarnations, from the ska of their debut to the guitar-based cumbia of their subsequent albums, it feels like Peru’s Bareto have finally found themselves producing one of the best Latin American albums of the year in the process.
On opener ‘La Voz del Sinchi’ they show off perhaps their best cumbia yet – fans of classic Peruvian chicha will rejoice – by keeping the pace to a steady groove and letting the intricate guitar and bass grooves drive the sound. However, it’s one of only a few cumbias on the album. Elsewhere, they use an assortment of flavours, showing off a new-found diversity that proves a revelation. ‘No es Para Mí’ is a sweet flowering acoustic number, while on ‘El Impredecible’ they offer up a classy slice of Spanish/Cuban roots music and on the dreamy ‘El Loco’, featuring the vocals of Susana Baca, they find a fusion between Afro-Peruvian festejo dance music and Latin jazz. This continues on the handful of instrumentals, ranging from Hawaiian slide to effects-laden dub pieces.
Impredecible is the perfect modern Peruvian album, fuelled by the country’s multi-ethnic musical origins but with touches of guitar, dub and effects that bring it up to the present day.