Yerba Buena Island Life

New York based Latin-funk outfit Yerba Buena follow up their debut release with Island Life, a collection of over-achieving but sometimes sloppy Latin rhythms. Trying to build on their reputation as leaders in the alternative Latin scene, Yerba Buena get in over their heads and try to mix far too many different rhythms into each and every song creating a jumbled mix of tunes that attempt to display their skill as musicians instead of their skill of songwriters. Although the record fails to create a solid groove without losing it to a pop sounding funk, there are a few tracks saved by solid guest appearances, including "La Candela,” a traditional Cuban Santerias flavoured track featuring hip-hop outfit Orishas. "Fever” is a cover of the classic Afro-funk track by Jingo, only this time they feature M1 from Dead Prez. "Corazon Bandolero” is a flamenco flavoured tune featuring Spanish gitano singer El Cigala and "Bilingual Girl” is saved by classic Latin soul singer and NYC icon Joe Bataan. Although their intentions were in the right place, Yerba Buena fail to create a smart record perhaps because they were more focused on showing off how many different styles they could pull off instead of focusing on composing solid tracks that capture the energy and excitement of their band. (Razor & Tie)