Area 52, which was released today on ATO Records, is a 9-song collection of re-interpreted songs from their earlier catalog. What makes the songs sparkle is the addition of a huge Cuban orchestra, the Collection Universal Band Association, or C.U.B.A if you're into the whole brevity thing.
While the duo's customary acoustic-based guitar songs were impressive enough, due to Gabriela Quintero's intense percussive touches and Rodrigo Sanchez's lightning-quick lead guitar playing, Area 52 is a much fuller record, consistently bursting with horns, keys, drums, and authentic Cuban flavor.
No, they don't re-interpret their amazing Stairway to Heaven or Orion covers here, but the 9 tracks they chose to re-vamp with the orchestra create a seamless package of top-notch Latin-flavored jams. They even re-did their classic tune Tamacun, originally included on their self-titled 2006 album. The new version is aided greatly by the additional horns and rhythm section, which really give the song a new dynamic that works perfectly.
More than anything, Rodrigo Y Gabriela sound like they're having a great deal of fun with Area 52, injecting new life into some songs they've known well for years.
Pick it up if you've ever been interested in anything they've done, because this one will make you move.