You can squeeze “tango” and “club” out from this octet’s name but not from their music that gets hotter ‘n’ hotter.
Latin Grammy may not be the most attention-drawing category for most of the world, but the award isn’t given for nothing, and this Argentine-Uruguayan eight-piece bagged it deservedly for their 2002’s debut. Ten years on, the Rio de la Plata collective intensify the buzz immensely without pulling in heavy guests such as Nelly Furtado or Elvis Costello who added their hip twist to 2007’s “Mar Dulce” to make its follow-up a molten-bronze concept album, with proper in and out points and a lot of turns in between.
“Codigo de barra” sets things in motion in dramatic, orchestral fashion before Martin Ferres’ bandoneon takes the dance down to earth, but save for the disco-minded “Lluvia”, there’s not much electronic grounding now. It may provide a vibrant undercurrent to the infectious, fiery choir of “Pena en mi corazon” and the flow of “Cuesta arriba”, yet the cinematic “Segundos Afuera” achieves levitation thanks to Gustavo Santaolalla’s guitar twang. And whereas “Patras” pitches a hint of Grieg into the Eastern-flavored strings, the beats make their entrance, unobtrusively, with “Pide piso”, to mesh with natural percussion and step back when Javier Casalla’s violin performs a time-warp to epoque noire.
The groove reigns with elegant might in the heart of “La trufa y el sifon” and cuts the rumba rug in “Olvidate” while, as a contrast, “Oigo voces”, lives up to its title by serving up an airy a cappella polyphony, and “A repechaje” marries rock riffs to a folk flute a la JETHRO TULL. There are many layers to this glitterball of an album and, if you peel them with every spin, another little gramophone might well be inside it.