mas·ter·piece /ˈmastərˌpēs/ Noun
A work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship.
An artist’s or craftsman’s best piece of work.
I love when one of my favorite artists puts together something so fabulous that I simply cannot wait to get my hands on it. So, imagine the gargantuan smile plastered across my face when I received a new album from Fayuca, Barrio Sideshow. Immediately downloaded and into my iTunes files, Barrio Sideshow has now been playing overhead in my home office for hours. (I think I’m at least three times through it now.)
For those of you still not familiar with the band, Fayuca’s music is ska, punk, and reggae blended with their cultural background, filling the vocals with either English or Spanish, depending upon which fits the moment. Upon hearing their music, one usually thinks Sublime/SOJA/Slightly Stoopid/Authority Zero combined. And since those are some of my favorite bands, you probably get where I’m going with this. Interestingly, in their latest interview last Friday evening, Gabriel Solorzano (lead vocals, guitar) put it best, “I don’t look to make a song in either English or Spanish. It’s just some songs sound better one way or the other. Don’t know why, they just do.” And that’s a rather cool concept to be able to express themselves freely across the two language platforms. The music, well, it just works!
The standout feature of this album seems to be the attention with which it has been assembled. The tightness of each song permeates throughout it. Barrio Sideshow screams “laid-back perfection.” The guys of Fayuca along with producer/engineer Ralph Patlan (Jamie Foxx, Megadeth) and the team at Fervor Records created a masterpiece. Additions to the album both large and small worked together, creating something that music lovers will want to have in their libraries, especially for those days kicking back by the pool here in the valley. Danny Torgersen‘s trumpet tracks add such depth to the songs, just the perfect fill here and there. (I’m hoping he plays with the guys at the Martini Ranch CD Release Party March 3rd!) Ryan Sims’s horn work blends seamlessly as well! Adding Jason DeVore‘s vocals to “Shoot It Up,” which blends so harmoniously with Gabe’s vocals, it’s almost difficult to see when one ends and the other begins. It’s quite a lovely effect.
Favorite tracks thus far:
- 01- Por Que Seguir (video on MTV in May) – driving ska beat with wicked horns
- 04- Stickier Than the Last – laid back reggae tune with lyrics almost acting as a corollary to Authority Zero’s “Retreat”
- 09- the Cycle – quick punk rhythms flowing back and forth into ska
- 10 – Salvame – easy reggae song leaving you ready to sway while sipping your favorite frosty beverage
And not only is the music sheer perfection, the album artwork adds another dimension to the project. Rafael Ruiz’s (percussion, vocals) favorite artist, El Moises, agreed to complete a piece for the album cover. This commissioned drawing gives such flavor to the whole package. They mentioned in their interview how humbled they are as a band that El Moises would agree to work on their project. Raf especially praised the work, loving what it adds to the album.
Barrio Sideshow will be available for purchase May 7th. You can catch them live May 3rd at Martini Ranch in Scottsdale for their CD Release Party. Having heard some of the new tracks live last Friday, I can say with certainty that the show will be nothing short of exceptional. Their live performances continue to sharpen each time I see them. Whether it’s the driving beats of Raf tearing up the drums, Gabe’s maddening guitar riffs while belting out tune after tune, or Sam Edwards’ mad bass skills timed perfectly with Raf and Gabe, the trio brings an energy to stage that will get even the shiest person grooving to their infectious tunes.
There’s still time to pre-order the CD or grab one of the cool packages they have available. I’m sure you will also be able to pick up the CD, and more, at their merch table at Martini Ranch May 3rd as well. Mark my words, you will want Barrio Sideshow. It is a shear masterpiece, through and through.Thank you to Fervor Records, and Anamieke Quinn, for the advanced album and artwork.