Malena - Fried Samba
Funky lounge/jungle rhythms trot along in a friendly enough manner without being all that captivating and a confusing wind element doesn't do a create deal to attract attention, in opener ‘No Llores Mas'. Ambient and uplifting Brazilian vocals have Maleena skirting towards the impact of the Thievery Corporation without replicating their mastery. They end up coming across a little like a lethargic Basement Jaxx. It's as though they have been made aware of these shortcomings and in the epic, vocal free, samba and acid jazz conjoining ‘More Afro', they start to show adventure and tempo building ability.
Some Underworld instrumental masking gives the wistful epic ‘No Me Digas Nada', some consistency that flows into the slow building, pedestrian soul vocal toed ‘Que Dificil Es', but there's still a slight flatness that lingers. Having been consistently noticed since their Latin House veined early days of 2001, Maleena seem to have hit a bit of lazy rut, as the 8 piece backing band's contribution is probably the least emphatic and noticeable than in any other of this once fresh outfit's past material.
A digital toe and deftly clattering percussion brings mystery and an instrumental heartbeat to the fore in standout offering, ‘Flute Juice'. The Latin rhythm and a more experimental slant moulds well together. This gives a hint of the adventurousness that could revive this cosmopolitan troupe appeal.
Malena, you sense, do possess the ability in them to be spectacular but they need wrestle themselves out of the lazy pedestrian slump that they seem to easily fall into.
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