Ecuadorian bands are certainly not the norm in Latin music these days.

Ecuadorian bands are certainly not the norm in Latin music these days. But nationality is just one of the factors that sets pop quartet Tranzas apart from the pack. Por Siempre, the group's third disc but the first to be released in the U.S., is lovely, despite sometimes spotty production. The disc kicks off with "Si Volvieras," a track that blends Andean instruments with rock guitars. Such disparate elements are offset by singer Douglas Bastidas' sweet, wistful voice. Other tracks offer bachata rhythms, Brazilian percussion, and even Spanish guitars in just the right mix. It all works, but, ultimately, it's the consistently strong songs that make this album stand out. The gorgeous single "Un Nuevo Amor" is already garnering airplay (a feat, considering Latin radio's seeming aversion to novel pop). One can only hope it helps propel Tranzas beyond the airwaves and into high sales territory.—LC

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