La Bala (CD)
- Mira Mira
- Better World
- Las Calles De Altea
- La Envidia
- La Bala
- El Vasito De Agua
- No Sign
- Too Many Suffer
Produced by Simon Jackson and Mas Y Mas
LUMI02 – ©Luminoso Records 2009
Más Y Más recorded La Bala in Havana, Cuba.
- ¿Por Qué Será?
- En Mexico
- Por Ella
- Madre Selva
- La Miel
- Carlos Y Maria
- The Hump
Produced by Alex Clark and Mas Y Mas
LUMI01 – ©Luminoso Records 2004
Más Y Más recorded this album at Westside Studios, London with their sadly missed friend and ace producer Alex Clark.
¿De Qué Color? (CD)
- Por Que
- De Que Color
- La Culpa
Produced by Mick Vaughan and Mas Y Mas
LUMI00 – ©Luminoso Records 2000
Rikki, Wayne Evans and Richard Kensington are joined by an all-star cast of guest musicians; Biant Suwali Singh- Tabla, Ric Chandler- Darabuka, Pete Jack- Quatro, Frankie Banham- Sax, and Jim Walker- Violin.
De Que Color
From the first notes the melodic warmth of Wayne Evans’ acoustic bass and Richard Kensington’s fluid percussion playing are a perfect foil to the sharper cadences of frontman Rikki Thomas-Martinez’s guitar & vocal performance. For a debut album there’s plenty here which says this band have been around for some time on the live scene.
They play as one unit, creating an easy acoustic ambiance infused with echoes of Latin America & the Spanish Caribbean and, from nearer to home, Spain itself. Elements of son, rumba, mambo, Cuban oriente and flamenco pass through the sound in a kaleidoscopic array of sounds which fuse well in the hands of this accomplished trio.
Rikki has a great Latin music voice and conveys the lyrics (he also composed all tracks here except ‘Guantanamera’) with a clarity & directness which puts him up there alongside the greats of today’s international music scene.
The material is strong, from easy crooners (‘Por Qué’) to sharp-dressed dancefloor numbers (‘Agua’) there’s a healthy range of styles and the dreamy, sultry version of that aforementioned old standard was well worth the re-visit. ‘Respetame’ has a terrific vocal line reminiscent of South American folk tradition and ‘Juana’, even with its English lyric, reeks of sexy Iberian insouciance.
The best tracks for this reviewer, though, are the opener, ‘Zapatero’ with its manouche swing, the plush salsa of ‘Mendigo’ (in sound clip below) featuring Martinez on keyboards and the title track, which is a great example of the singer’s songwriting ability.
The first impression you get from ‘¡Agárrate!’ is the sheer physical mastery of the instrumentalists in Más y Más. The Anglo-Spanish trio play up a storm, at times sounding twice as large and hitting those vital Latin/Afro-Cuban/flamenco beats absolutely bang-on every time.
Lead singer and guitar/mandolin player Ricky Thomas-Martinez also writes much of the band’s material and his ability in this direction is key to their appeal. Ricky pens all but three of the 11 tracks here and the set opens with a cracker – ‘Por qué Será?’ which whips in with all the acoustic appeal and chutzpah of a Manu Chao classic, with funky percussion and a measured, striding bassline.
A ‘trad.arr’ version of a Mexican song ‘En Mexico’ follows, the rhythm kicks up a notch and the scene is set. The band have cut their teeth on ( almost) ten years of live appearances across the world – most recently in front of a whooping crowd of 10,000 at the Rainforest World Music Festival, held in Borneo during July 2004.
It’s not always easy to get a live show across on disc and, indeed, the humour and stage antics are impossible to put over here. They’ve concentrated, therefore, on what is after all the band’s biggest strength – musical ability and material – probably the wisest move and certainly one which pays dividends in terms of the finished product.
There’s nothing really to fault here. The production is clean, chunky and efficient and the packaging, including lyrics in English & Spanish is fun and informative. This is Más y Más at their easy-going, likeable best, they’ll be very big soon, so get in at the ground floor.
“Más Y Más, Latin music in the style of The Clash…they bring a unique combination of flair, passion and originality to the fore.” Cork Evening Echo Here’s a clip from ‘Madreselva’.
Dave Atkins – Phat Planet