Words by Philip Sweeney
Bachata boy back at ya
Can it really be five years since the last CD from the Duke of bachata, Joan Soriano? No wonder life’s seemed a bit drab since. At last – praise the lord and pour out the Brugal – Soriano is back. He returns with the most artistically perfect thing he could have done after the 60 minutes of pleasure he gave us last time – that is to record another 60 minutes of pretty much the same.
The same plaintive voices, double-tracked now and again to lovely effect, bringing to mind a Creolised Everly Brothers. There’s the same sprightly plucked electric guitar breaking into hypnotic double-time mambos, accompanied by a rattling, stick-played bongo and more than efficient bass. There are some fabulous female choruses, particularly on a scorcher of a track called ‘El SIDA’. There is a slightly Haitian-tinged merengue, possibly the most irresistible stimulant to dance on the planet with the possible exception of Congolese rumba – at least, it is in the hands of a maestro like Soriano.
A couple of less than essential tracks feature, but the Duke probably had more serious business on his mind. Overall, this album is a complete treat: if I have to wait another five years for the follow-up, I’m going to get seriously depressed.