Music » CD Reviews

Los Lobos

The Ride (Hollywood/Mammoth)

by

comment
East L.A.'s greatest band has spent the 21st century backing away from the formal and textural experimentation that marked its work in the 1990s. In 2002, Good Morning Aztlán winningly showcased the band's roots -- hard, Latin-keyed rock and soul with plenty of swing -- but felt a little dry for lack of interplanetary keyboard slime. For The Ride, Los Lobos drafted contributions from a troupe of impressively varied guest stars, perhaps in an attempt to reintroduce some of that mystery into their sound.

Often they succeed: Mexican art-rockers Café Tacuba charge opener "La Venganza de los Pelados" with a nimble rhythmic thrust; Tom Waits adds deranged babble to "Kitate"; Rubén Blades gives "Ya Se Va" a humid open-air throb. Yet even the more conventional stuff here feels fresher than 12th albums tend to; check the submerged menace that keeps threatening to surface in "Is This All There Is?" or how off-the-cuff Mavis Staples's vocal sounds in the organ-drenched "Someday." In a long medley of Lobos' "Wicked Rain" and Bobby Womack's "Across 110th Street," the band (along with Womack) pushes past bar-band tedium into old-soul beauty. And they actually make a medley work.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.