April, 1999

The Iguanas
Sugar Town

Koch Records

It is no secret that nowadays the best music is being produced on smaller independent labels. By "best" I mean something that hasn't been tampered with by, as Keith Richards called them, corporate bean counters. In this time of fevered label consolidation the more interesting characters (you know, the ones who can't appeal to the mainstream) are being driven to the fringes. It is in this shadow of the giants that New Orleans wide ranging roots rockers The Iguanas founded Blowout Records and released Sugar Town.

Sounding somewhat reminiscent at times of Los Lobos recent releases (and in no way am I implying plagiarism, merely shared influences) Sugar Town features the same mix of slinky R & B and Latin powered pop stylings that has always been their staple.

This one has little different feel, however. The groove is emphasized more here than on previous works, its dark, funky ambience largely fueled by the duel saxophone sounds of Joe Cabral and Derek Huston. This approach reaches it's peak on three tunes. The low slung street hugging Born Again Devil is another questionable character portrayal much like Rock Star from the 1996 release Super Ball. The hip humping Latin Kings and Fire and Gasoline concoct a positively lascivious mood and would easily win any award in the category- Best Music To Impregnate Someone By.

La Llanta Se Me Poncho, La Guera Felix and Si Amanece Nos Vamos provide the more exotic flavored element that has always been prominently featured in any Iguanas endeavor, albeit with the same late night vibe.

Musical boundaries are being broken down with an increasing fervor as artists fuse various styles. It is in this spirit of diversity and eclectic proficiency that Sugar Town most deeply satisfies.

-David Kendall

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