It is obvious that music transcends language, but it requires a certain level of musical talent to really reach beyond the boundaries. Before you roll your eyes and move on to watching the Star Wars trailer for the umpteenth time, hear me out.
Almost three years ago, I made a point about the sound of DC’s Tropicaliente maestros’ ability to break down the language barrier via “monumental grooves”. I even disregarded understanding because you could still “easily comprehend the vibe.”
Almost fittingly, they’re back with, well, The Vibes.
Empresarios steps up under the lights with their latest release and drives home a ten-track album of infectiously fused rhythms, heart-pounding, hip-shaking, beats, and a heavy dose of their signature Tropicaliente magic.
I will admit that I find it quite difficult to write this while fighting the urge to dance. With a little funky flair and a whole lot of style, The Vibes embeds itself in your inner rhythm with “Morena,” “Encanto,” “Pala Calle,” and “Rootsy Jam” (the latter nodding quite nicely to Reggae), I cannot let go of this album and this sound. The Tropicaliente style that Empresarios wields with pride as a crest for their self-defined mission glaringly emerges with The Vibes like a beacon of calling to all those with the slightest passion for music. I would be dumbfounded if this fell short of anything but success.
I find the ability of these guys to bridge the ever-present classical styles that made/make salsa great to modern funk and electronic sounds with beats and rhythms that are worthy of a federal hearing on subliminal messages is nothing short of incredible. What’s even more impressive is how quickly one can dismiss all of this and just move to the music.
Bilingually delivering a sound that I can only describe as island-meets-salsa-with-a-nod-to-classic-spun-around-modern-production, The Vibes is an overwhelmingly addicting album. If you know Empresarios, it is hard to imagine how this could have gotten any better. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with the eclectic notion of the Latin Ocean that is Tropicaliente, you now have no excuse. Do it now.
Greg is a co-founder and regular contributor to Nanobot Rock.