New York City’s True Groove Records is releasing yet another worthwhile record in May of this year. Mac Gollehon & The Hispanic Mechanics features a gamut of tracks which, while they can be perhaps lazily (or ignorantly?) all filed under “Latin music”, each have many features that make they each quite distinctive.
Produced by Tomás Doncker, James Dellatacoma, and Mac Gollehon, the record involved quite a few artists throughout its making, including Mac Gollehon (vocals, trombone, trumpet), Tomás Doncker (vocals, guitars), Tina Torres (vocals), Miguel Valdez (vocals, percussion), Baba Don (percussion), Ronnie Roc (percussion), and Mike Griot (bass).
There is something infectious about each of the tracks on this album. The challenge of reviewing them falls on someone like me who doesn’t know enough about South American music to be able to differentiate between the continents’ different styles of music, but there were at least five very different Latin style that made an appearance between the opening “No More Drama” and the closing “If Time Allows”.
All the tracks feature stellar instrumentation work by a group of individuals that are clearly passionate about music—something that is becoming a regular characteristic of a True Groove Records production. All of the tracks are more or less up-tempo and the trumpet takes center stage at some point or another of each number.
Other than the various Latin music styles in each track, there are certain unique twists to each of them that also make them stand out. The two opening numbers are the ones that stood out the most to me. The hip-shaking “No More Drama” includes an electronic touch in the form of distorted vocals repeating over and over “no more drama” as if those three words were a mantra of sorts, the message of which was reinforced by the joy and energy of the melody.
In contrast, the female vocals in “Amor Tragico”—an upbeat number despite its rather ominous sounding title—are warm and inviting, all the more human with the help of the male choir-like background vocals that support the lead vocals.
It’s interesting to note that three of the last four tracks on the album are remixes that both sound familiar enough to identify their original inspiration as well as dipping into a completely different Latin music genre making it sound like a very different track altogether. I do hope to find someone who knows their South American music well enough to be able to point out the variety of styles that make an appearance on this album but will nonetheless be enjoying every minutes of it in the meanwhile.
The track “No More Drama” is available for streaming on SoundCloud. More information about Mac Gollehon is available on this webpage; more information about this specific project is available on the associated Facebook page.
Pictures provided by Independent Music Promotions.