Toronto outfit Battle of Santiago describe their breakout sound as "a distinctive blend of Canadian art-rock and Afro-Cuban jazz twisted through a dub lens."
No arguments here: Bandleader Michael Owen has assembled a diverse collection of Canadian and Cuban talents who combine to create a distinctly rich and vibrant sound. La Migra, the group's third full-length studio release, refers to the "deportation police" as the 11-track project deftly dives into the complexities of the current social and political climate.
By mingling North American electro and jazz elements with an Afro-Cuban sensibility, BOS has harnessed a controlled yet frenetic vibe that manifests as a rhythmic, modulated flow, best seen on the seven-minute upbeat anthem "Aguanileo," the reverent-to-rumba sound of "Rumba Libre," the internal heat of "Pa' Bailar" and the Afrobeat jazz smoulder of "Bomba Grande." The post-rock-leaning "Asi Vengo Yo" traverses familiar dub territory, but the instructive funk of "Se Me Complica" more than makes up for it with its social slant and groove.
La Migra is a standout amongst Canadian music produced this year; Battle of Santiago are boss when it comes to serving up a resident sound with an international scope, capturing an energetically live spirit in the process. (Made with Pencil Crayons)