x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Album review: Rodrigo y Gabriela – 9 Dead Alive

The Mexican acoustic duo's fourth album takes them out of their comfort zones of flamenco to explore more alternative country and rock territory.

Rodrigo y Gabriela

9 Dead Alive

(Rubyworks Records)

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In their latest release, the forward-thinking Mexican acoustic duo Rodrigo y Gabriela have looked back for inspiration. Their fourth album is loose and conceptual, with each track dedicated to a historical figure. It’s a nifty idea, as each persona takes them out of their comfort zones of flamenco to explore more alternative country and rock territory. The opener Soundmaker, dedicated to the 19th-century luthier and guitarist Antonio de Torres Jurado, is seductive, with the duo’s galloping riffs evoking scenes from a Spaghetti Western. Misty Moses (dedicated to the African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman) is a more delicate affair, with a melancholic opening flourish before the pace picks up to an assertive finale. Megalopolis (for the 19th-century Chilean poet and diplomat Gabriela Mistral) is a slight throwback to the successful flamenco sounds, albeit with a slower, contemplative vein. Don’t let the subject matter put you off; 9 Dead Alive can be perfectly enjoyed intently or pleasantly in the background. It’s another solid release from the consistent duo.

sasaeed@thenational.ae