Something different in Americana-roots music despite its Latin origins — it qualifies. This LP started in Cuba, was recorded in Nashville with help from The Mavericks’ Raul Malo – how Americana can you get?
Technicolor (Mono Mundo Records – drops Feb. 21st), is the debut 10-track by Cuba’s first ex-pat rock band, the 5-piece Sweet Lizzy Project.
Cuban-musicians with miraculously good flavorful “best of both worlds” progressive-rock guitar layered into Americana-type melodies. Add a touch of Latin overtones & it’s challenging? Yes. Entertaining? Absolutely.
Track 1 – “Technicolor,” is dynamic with its soaring David Gilmour-inspired lead guitar (Miguel Coma). Miguel is joined by vocalist/lyricist Lizzy – Lisset Diaz, with her expressive voice motivated by power & passion who sings in English (“Turn Up the Radio”). At times a bit borderline Abba – but with an edge. Onboard are Wilfredo Gatell (keyboards), Alejandro Gonzalez (bass) & Angel Luis Millet (drums).
With infectious melodies & using vocal effects on “Ain’t Nobody To Call,” Lisset wisely doesn’t rely on such gimmicks. The song is filled with a pure wall of sound backup vocals & a herky-jerky beat of the past. Her vocals are wonderfully balanced throughout by drummer Angel Luis Millet’s thunderous percussion. This is not your Grandmother’s Ricky Riccardo band. These Latinos have enduring authenticity.
For Spanish fans — a few Spanish tunes recorded with clarity & melody. It shows diversity. Lisset’s voice — calm as the ocean but she kicks up waves on a whim. On “Tu Libertad,” she adds a pinch of 60s bossa-nova style singing — sexy like Astrud Gilberto & wispy as Claudine Longet. This song has a nice Latin groove – retro but not old.
The Mavericks join on the beautiful “The Flower’s In the Seed,” & it’s a keeper. Lisset’s vocal is luscious. Raul Malo’s vocals compliment her. A touch of accordion, The Mavericks with the Sweet Lizzy Project creates a musical slice of art. To be relished.
Lisset is more acrobatic vocally on “What Was Happening To Me,” & creates a compelling showcase. Atmospheric guitar works, it works so well, & expertly. A potpourri of voice & proficient musicians = ear-candy.
“These Words,” is sung more modern-day contemporary. Younger audiences will relate quickly. It’s a good song, well-arranged, simpler with lots to recommend it. The Comas lead guitar is what nailed my ears – great solo. Lisset’s vocals soar into the realm of vintage pipes of Karen Lawrence (1994), & Candy Givens (Zephyr). “Travel To The Moon,” is more rooted in the inflection/phrasing of early Alanis Morrisette. Not bad.
“Vuelta Atras,” is sung in Spanish as well but don’t skip this. It’s an exceptional rocker. Lisset’s vocals are chillingly good as she rollercoasters through her musical notes. She reminds me of Italy’s legendary singer Milva in her prime.
I look forward to more from the Sweet Lizzy Project.
Welcome to America, stay as long as you wish. The 39-minute CD is available at Discogs.