Cabas Cabas

The marketing term "Latin alternative" could open up a whole range of recording possibilities for emerging artists such as Cabas, who hails from Colombia. With new markets in Europe, Canada and Latino USA it may no longer be as important for a young singer to "cross over" in the traditional sense of singing in English and using more generic pop rhythms, like Ricky Martin or Cabas's compatriot, Shakira. Cabas's music is unmistakeably Colombian with heavy tambours in pretty much every song, but also rock guitars and electronic touches. Sung entirely in Spanish, this record shows a solid foundation of cumbia, porro and Barranquilla rhythms and instrumentation — how often do top 40 songs feature clarinets? — but also catchy choruses. "Mi Bombón" is about as radio-friendly as it comes. It's slick pop music that doesn't betray its roots. A couple of things would help Cabas the next time around: more money, to slickify the production even further, perhaps in the form of an A-list mastering engineer who could draw out more of the music's varied instrumentation. Also, Latin alternative rock tends to take its inspiration from schlocky arena rock rather than more cutting edge sources. More imaginative and intense riffing would make the songs more passionate to these ears. As for the self described "pornopop” of "Tu Boca" — leave it to Ricky. (EMI)