Mahala Rai Banda

Ghetto Blasters

Asphalt Tango CD-ATR 2509


Full Price (46 mins)

Originally published in Songlines.

And so the party goes on. It seems hard to believe that Romanian Gypsy firebrands MRB have only been around for few short years: when they burst onto the scene in 2005 with their self-titled debut album, their slick, hard-dancing sound was an instant hit in clubs and festivals worldwide, even earning them a slot on the Borat soundtrack. A good part of that success must go to producers Henry Ernst and Marc Elsner, who really understand how to balance tight studio production and the loose, live energy of blistering horns, and this long-awaited follow-up is a class affair throughout. After a slightly slow start – the Fanfare Ciocarlia tuneTu Romnie and is good, but a little on the safe side – bandleader Aurel Ionita and arranger Adrian Sical really start to show what they can do. Nu Mai Beau is a fast and furious dancefloor workout with a rock solid uptempo groove, frenetic horn riffs and the punchy Roma scat singing that Romanian singers do so well. Best of the bunch is Ding Deng Dong, written by Belgrade labelmates Kal, which starts with a rolling Manu Chao groove before letting rip into a heavy ska with a gloriously catchy chorus, and Solo Para Ti, a gypsy flamenco meets Balkan horns fiesta is another winning combination of soaring lead vocal and killer rhythmic hook. Resist at your peril.

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