Alex Cuba: Ruido en El Sistema (2012)
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This Cuban-born singer/songwriter and accomplished guitarist has been slowly establishing himself as a crossover Latin alternative artist able to tackle various genres without compromising his signature sound. Cuba borrows from his native rumba and adapts it into a more contemporary format, evoking funk, neo-soul and blues with a rich melodic structure.
On his fourth release (which translates as "Static in the System"), he borrows even more from the sounds of his native island, adding horns and percussion to some songs in order to give the music a Latin-esque feel that can still resonate with pop audiences. The disc opens with "Sin Un Porque," a gentle ballad built around the horn section and percussion; it is an odd choice for a record made up of many up-tempo tunes, but is nevertheless enjoyable.
"Suspiro en Falsete" leans more towards neo-soul territory, sounding more like his earlier albums, bringing Cuba's electric guitar to prominence. "Eres" features frequent collaborator Nellie Furtado (who sings in Spanish) in a song that is sure to become the album's biggest hit. The strongest moment, however, is clearly "Creo," the album's sole politically charged song. The lyrics address the different things in which he believes, as Cuba bluntly states, "I do not believe in the weapon of the military / that brings silence as it shoots."
Track Listing: Sin un Porque ;Suspiro en Falsete;; Por Donde Vas ; Eres; Nadie Como feat. Nelly Furtado; Lo Mejor Para Mi; Ruido en El Sistema ;Como Si Nada; Tu Nombre 2:;Todo en La Vida ; Are You; Creo; Rompecabezas; Unanime.
Personnel: Alex Cuba: guitars, vocals; Nelly Furtado: vocals; Robert Johns: electric bass; Robert diPietro: drums.
Record Label: Caracol Records