Review: Jack Foley
I THINK I have said before that I am a sucker for some flamenco
guitar, so the prospect of listening to an album full of it was
always going to be a mouthwatering one.
Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero - both from Mexico City
- made a name for themselves on the Irish live scene, blowing
audiences over with their virtuoso guitar playing.
With the help of critically-acclaimed Dublin-based singer, Damien
Rice, the pair recorded the album, Re-Foc, to create a sound that
tempers perfectly with the intricate Latin rhythms.
And the ensuing collection of eight songs effortlessly conjures
images of Mexico, while also tipping its sombrero to the multitude
of other influences that have influenced the duo down the years.
Track one, Diem, for instance, is dedicated to Megadeth's
Dave Mustaine, while the presence of Zoë Conway, of the Irish
Chamber Orchestra, on violin at several points adds plenty of
that Emerald Isle spirit to proceedings.
And given that the album was recorded in a flat on a mobile studio,
the sound quality is excellent, with every chord of the Spanish
guitars sounding as crisp and as vibrant as though it were being
played live, and in your room.
The album is at its liveliest and best, however, when the energy
levels are picked up, and the backing comes courtesy of a bongo,
shakers and cajón.
It is then that the album wouldn't sound of out of place as an
accompanying soundtrack to one of Robert Rodriguez's Desperado
Track two, New One, with its slight female backing vocals,
also evokes memories of the Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid
soundtrack, particularly during the film's Mexican stages, while
Paris surely contains a nod to Mike Oldfield's Spanish
guitar section of Tubular Bells, while also stopping off for a
nice bongo interlude.
Not everything works as well as it might, it's true, but I can't
help but be seduced by the sound of some quality Spanish guitar,
and this delivers in spades.
It is a worthy reminder of why this musical form is so highly
regarded in its own right, rather than being used as a sample
to accompany some tacky pop song.
I would heartily recommend Re-Foc to anyone, but especially
if you have listened to and fallen in love with the energetic
strains of a Spanish/Flamenco guitar.