Amanecer, Luna Nueva’s debut album, opens with a ruckus-like a good joke told and guitar laughter fills a crowded room-and instantly you understand why a new moon has risen. “La Gringa,” the first track, has guitarists Rafael Vargas and Jed Miley dueling for what might be La Gringa’s affections. Hard to tell, as this quartet refrains for dropping lyrical hints, but what is known is that the other two members of Luna Nueva, percussionist Steve Roy and bassist Bren Plummer, know how to compliment the guitar with precision.
Tempo changes keep Amanecer’s six tracks flowing and (although highly influenced by Latin jazz, flamenco, and South American folk tunes) fresh. Vargas and Miley’s dynamic strumming leads the sound, effortlessly moving from soft to intense, and gives the band a vibrant flavor. I especially dig the longer bow pulls on the bass by Plummer, evocative of a Cinematic Orchestra or two. My only complaint is that just when I’m getting my groove fully on, whack, the album’s over. Go out and buy a copy so the boys can afford to record a proper LP!
With a 100-percent acoustic vision, Luna Nueva impressed the yoga pants off of this Serge Gainsbourg fan. The gang recorded at the Deal Studio in Redmond, Washington in 2003, and sound engineer Paul Brandon (alias McCartney) did a fantastic job – the sound is full, round, motherly – like a lotus and pigeon position rolled into one short and sweet “Ommmm.” Put it on for a little kick to that shanty dinner party or just for chilling after a long day of meager-paying toil. Like the title, “daybreak” in Spanish, this album will start you off on the right foot. Now get off your lazy computer chair-embossed hide and dance with me! -CC