Album Review

Latin Playboys - Dose

Latin Playboys - Dose

With this follow-up to the Latin Playboys' eponymous debut of five years back, David Hidalgo throws his virtual hat a little further into the visionary ring. On what amounts to a cosmic companion-piece to Houndog, the recent Hidalgo/Mike Halby collaboration, the ostensible Los Lobos leader is up to his third eye in murky grooves, clearly drawn characters, unorthodox textures and dreamy funk. Fellow Lobo Louie Perez again joins Hidalgo, as do Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake, who overlay band-member duty with their respective producing and engineering chores. An incredible array of sunken drums, scratchy fiddles, barroom guitars and found noises are crammed into a scant thirty-five minutes. True to the album's title, the agreeably druggy songs on Dose are so well-conceived that they sound less like new, unfamiliar tunes and more like dreams you remember waking from, in a sweat, in some place you visited during a dangerous experiment. From the opening, almost Beatlesque guitar propelling the aptly titled "Fiesta Erotica", to the disquieting street-life narrative "Cuca's Blues", Dose begins and remains out on a limb. Highlights include the virtual one-act play "Ironsides", the ironically sunny and menacingly strung-out "Mustard", the impossibly swampy instrumental "Tormenta Blvd.", and what, in a perfect world, would be the beach song of the summer, "Lemon 'N Ice". So while you're catching some rays, check out the Curtis Mayfield-like vocals on "Locoman", turn it up for the raucous norteno-rocker "Paletero", and don't even bother to puzzle over what Hidalgo means when he sings, "Don't go figure, it's not about hip/You won't get it, it's a Latin trip."