Review - Rumba Baby Rumba!

Artist: Bio Ritmo

Rumba Baby Rumba!
Label: Triloka/Mercury
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Rumba Baby Rumba!

Just as the so-called neo-swing bands don't aim to attract jazz purists, Bio Ritmo probably isn't planning to sow roots in Spanish Harlem. By indulging in a little Ricky Ricardo schtick, Bio Ritmo aims to cross over as only a salsa band from Richmond, Va., can.

To their credit, Bio Ritmo understands their audience well enough to offer a set of catchy melodies -- sung mostly in English -- that don't inspire anything more than smiles and dance-floor hip-swaying. When the band plays it straight, it relies on clichéd riffs that merely competent playing can't save. But songs like the salsoul-sounding "Call Me Up (644-7215)" and the goofball Caribbean-flavored "Ugly" succeed most convincingly.

Like the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Bio Ritmo transcends rote revivalism by allowing their natural eccentricities and modern inclinations to strut.

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