Jorge Moreno's vocals, which go from nasal to raspy—and from smooth to wavering—may take some getting used to.
Jorge Moreno's vocals, which go from nasal to raspy—and from smooth to wavering—may take some getting used to. The same is true for this debut album's soulfulness, which grows on listeners and is bolstered by Moreno's fine songs and a string of arrangements steeped in traditional and contemporary settings. Moreno kicks off with "Reloj," a melancholy bolero that, halfway through, breaks into an upbeat son. The feel is pure lounge nostalgia, accentuated by a dramatic piano part and muted horns. In contrast, "Despertaré" and "Mi Sufrimiento" are lovely, radio-friendly pop ballads, while "Ella" is a Spanish version of "She's All Right Now." The affinity for straight-ahead rock'n'roll crops up again in "16," the album's sole English-language entry. Surprisingly, such eclecticism makes for an organic, vastly engaging, and often breathtaking album—although Moreno's vocals are sometimes affected to the point of distraction, and the first single, "Babalú," is too darn kitschy. Still, Moreno is a daring and worthwhile trip.—LC