Latest news » Real World Signs Ozomatli For Europe

Real World are delighted to announce the signing of Los Angeles Afro-Latin-and-beyond nine strong crew, Ozomatli, and will be releasing the new album 'Street Signs' on 22 June.

"With artists as self-consciously polymorphous as Ozomatli - descriptions of the group usually bear more hyphens than there are band members - songs can easily devolve into genre exercises. The L.A. nonet were guilty of just that on their first two albums, carefully repping each far-flung constituency - hip-hoppers, Chicanos, salseros, funksters, turntablists, and then some - in their multicultural vibe. Finally, with the third try, Ozo get it oh-so-right and achieve the suppleness and grace of their stylistic forebears War and Mandrill. (After all, those '70s Latin rock bands were just as musically and ethnically diverse without writing songs about it.) Street Signs shows a band that's shed their puppy-dog need to impress, and that focus is beneficial throughout. The focus of the title track - sampled piano licks quoting the salsa classic "El Preso," handclaps, and hip-hop beats - get the job done, delivering a solid progressive rap winner. The closer, "Cuando Canto," is an old-school, harmony-laden ballad that soars with unabashed love for East L.A. "brown-eyed soul." Even as the arrangements get more ambitious, as on the opener, "Believe," which matches Arabic strings with dancehall rhythms and psychedelic guitar, Ozo keep the emphasis on the songs. That's the most rewarding development on Street Signs : the band deliver their radical politics with fervor and clarity, especially on the searing "(Who Discovered) America?" and "Who's to Blame," featuring Jurassic 5 rapper Chali 2na. Guests ranging from piano maestro Eddie Palmieri to Los Lobos' David Hidalgo to turntablist (and Ozo founder) Cut Chemist sweeten the pot, but the real spice comes from Ozomatli themselves on this powerfully realized statement." Mark Schwartz - Barnes and Noble

Published 11th May 2004, 2:43pm »