Amaral, the duo of singer Eva Amaral and guitarist/instrumentalist Juan Aguirre, reels listeners in—not with the production, which is defiantly understated despite resources like the Echo Strin

Amaral, the duo of singer Eva Amaral and guitarist/instrumentalist Juan Aguirre, reels listeners in—not with the production, which is defiantly understated despite resources like the Echo String Quartet—but with Eva Amaral's tender, even ethereal vocals. Amaral is solid pop: Catchy hooks, very melodic lines, and lyrics that are disarmingly colloquial (to the point of over simplicity in a few tracks) with traces of pop culture. And yet, there's just enough of a touch of synthesizers, classically minded strings, and a rock edge to achieve a sophisticated sound. That, plus Amaral's girlish voice, adds up to an odd mix of freshness and elegance. Although other groups have mined the possibilities of similar-sounding vocals, Amaral has the benefit of mostly superb songs, notably lead single "Sin Tí No Soy Nada."—LC

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