Published Mar 27, 2015After raking in numerous Junos and Latin Grammys for his last few albums, Cuban-Canadian B.C. musician Alex Cuba is back with his fifth solo release. Healer largely continues down the same sonic lane as Cuba's previous work; he complements his guitar sketches with simple Latin percussion, while swelling vocals provide crescendos. It's a fairly safe sound, but it's found great favour from our national public broadcasters, and remains a pleasant merging of traditional Cuba and contemporary soul music.
Prominent Canadian guests dot the Healer landscape, often in bilingual duet form: previous collaborator Ron Sexsmith lends some joyful bop to the "Half A Chance"; the unmistakable vocals of Montreal's Alejandra Ribera invite Cuba's to ride along on "Beautiful Mistake"; one can easily imagine Cuba and David Myles performing the catchy "In 1 2 3 4" on Sesame Street at some point.
Healer reaches its body-moving zenith three-quarters of the way through with the four-on-the-floor, bass-driven "Logica." One gets the impression that these sort of unapologetic dance songs are Cuba's strength, especially as the handful of slower acoustic guitar and vocal songs interspersed on the album offer less replay value. Still, there's more than enough here to please existing Alex Cuba fans and enough interesting new songs to maybe make some new ones. (Caracol)