Coming after their success as the BBC's World Music Award winners, this sixth album from Amparo Sanchez's global crossover band must be considered something of a letdown. Certainly, one can't help feeling that a nine-piece outfit ought to be able to make music a little more compelling than that included in these 14 tracks. As a rule, I'm all in favour of the kind of cross-cultural musical miscegenation that usually appals world-music purists, but the various blends of cumbia, flamenco, rumba, reggae, mariachi and fado that Amparanoia have devised here seem polite, rote affairs, entirely lacking in the risks and gambles that set sparks flying. Likewise, Sanchez's songs (in translation, at least) are routine rehearsals of tired themes - dreams of peace, calls for equality, songs of departure, complaints about the pressures of life - with little by way of insight into the issues in question. A bonus cover version of Marley's "Redemption Song" puts things in some perspective, demonstrating how simplicity of intention allied to a haunting melody can grip one's attention tightly. It's not a bad album as such, just one that doesn't live up to expectations.
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