13

Javier García is not a man in a hurry. 13 is his second album, following up his 1997 pop-leaning self-titled debut. Eight years is almost enough time for him to be treated like a brand-new artist, and, accordingly, 13 abandons pop polish for a much more substantial and adventurous palette, courtesy of producer Gustavo Santaolalla. As a result, García absolutely shines. A rocker at heart, but also very aware of his mixed-up roots (he was born in Spain to an Irish mother and a Cuban father), many of the elements that were muted on his debut are pushed to the fore here: heavy-duty percussion, provocative polyrhythms, aggressive pop-rock hooks and a strong dose of Latin grandeur. García's voice also demands added attention, while behind him a fury of highly danceable Afro-Caribbean rhythms churn away. Songs like the tight funk-rock of "Dinamita" and the aggressive album opener "Bajo y Piano" are defiantly modern in tone, but rooted in rhythms that are timeless, making 13 an adventure worth the wait.

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