While it may be facile to refer to Yerba Buena as an "East Coast Ozomatli," the comparisons between both groups are inevitable, given their mÉlange of styles, penchant for bilingual lyrics, and

While it may be facile to refer to Yerba Buena as an "East Coast Ozomatli," the comparisons between both groups are inevitable, given their mélange of styles, penchant for bilingual lyrics, and the fact that the two are essentially party bands that rely more on groove and vibe than on melody-rich material. Yerba Buena, though, is a more refined fusion, with fine musicianship evidenced in various solos and in the well-thought-out layering of instrumental voicing—the jam-session feel notwithstanding. This makes for a mix that is essentially loads of fun and well-crafted, if not particularly original. Yerba Buena, led by producer Andrés Levin, lifts particular styles—Colombian cumbia or old-style Cuban bugalú—and meshes them with rap and hip-hop and sometimes funk. It's contagious but not strong enough to have a truly distinctive, easily identifiable sound—all the more difficult to achieve here with no single lead vocalist.—LC

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