Album Review: Boleros Valses y Mas by Frankie Reyes

(Image courtesy of Stones Throw Records.)

The Californian-based musician, Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker, strips down the sound to a single Oberheim synthesizer on his new project as Frankie Reyes. Minimal and pure of heart, Reyes’s interpolations of classic Latin standards thrives so vividly on this twelve track album wonder.

Right from the first track of “Alma, Corazón y Vida,” this is a very different re-imagining where the familiarity may be lacking, but the nostalgic Nintendo-like melodies of Boleros Valses y Mas really owes itself to the immersion of his passion towards a single instrument. Take the cover of Rafael Hernández Marín’s “Lamento Borincano,” for example. While it’s stripped of its instrumentation and lyricism, Frankie Reyes maintains the dramatic and tangible fire present from the original.

“Lamento Borincano” by Frankie Reyes, courtesy of Stones Throw.

A few other tracks I absolutely loved is the cartoonish wistfulness of “La Flor de la Canela”  and the equally friendly jingle of “Espinita.” Boleros Valses y Mas is a full realized and nostalgic collection of instrumentals. A celebration of his Puertorriqueño roots, he captures the unforeseen and solitary melancholy of each track in ways that seems witchcraft-ian. Take a deep listen to this album and find out for yourself what I mean.

Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5/5)


To download and stream the album and support Frankie Reyes, go to the Stones Throw Records Bandcamp HERE.

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