I just plain love Crazy for Jane, the 6th studio album of the Latin Grammy nominated band Locos Por Juana, released this week. I have been listening to the hit singles “Crazy for Jane” (with Common Kings), “Don’t Tell Me No” with. (Freddie McGuire), and “Children of the Light” since they were released as singles, but having the whole album to put in my ears all at once is a delight. It is exactly what I need as Music Friday sets up its new Musica Sin Fronteras studios in Mexico – reggae to smooth the day out, hip hop to give us energy, and dub and dance music to make it joyful. And all of it bilingual.
The album is ten songs, all with the famous Locos Por Juana sound and spirit, but each masterfully crafted to evoke different emotions and physical responses. The band knows how to assemble songs that are simultaneously tight and precise and freeform and joyful. Just listen to addictive hooks of “Light in the Morning” or “La Solution” with its 60’s inflected dub keyboard notes, or watch the great party video, “Crazy for Janes” and you will understand….and have a great time.
The quality of Crazy for Jane is no surprise given the band and the collaborators. Lead vocalist, Mark Kondrat, guitarist, Javier Delgado, drummer, and bassist David Pransky are superbly talented and at the top of their game on this album. Collaborations including Freddie McGregor, Common Kings, ¡MAYDAY! and Producer/Artist Maffio. They shot for the best and got it.
I have never seen Locos Por Juana live (something I will correct), although they are known for high energy performances – so obvious from their videos. So, it is even more remarkable that they have produced an album that carries an electric current just below the surface so that the lyrics, stories and emotions don’t get lost in the mix. Part of this is the band’s ability to uniquely fuse reggae, funk, cumbia, salsa, and hip hop, not an easy feat. The result is tropical, but something that stands out with a Miami feel but a sound that is at home anywhere.
Locos Por Juana recorded the majority of Crazy for Jane at the famous Studio 26, in Miami, and at guitarist/producer Mark Kondrat’s Blue Room studios. The album as released on Rock the Moon label and I predict it will become a must-play at dance clubs, summer night parties and maybe the Latin Grammys next year.
Patrick O’Heffernan is co-host of the LA-based, nationally syndicated weekly program, Music FridayLive! and is a music reviewer for online magazines Vents, The Hollywood Progressive and MusicJunkie. He has also co-hosted a national political talk show, The Fairness Doctrine, and hosted the “Uplinks” media segment on Saturday All Things Considered on NPR. He holds a PhD in International Relations from MIT, has been awarded an Emmy, four Addy’s, and a Webby-Honors, among other awards. He has published 5 books and ghost-written others. A project he co-launched, the North Asia Nuclear Free Zone, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. He serves on the Board of Netroots Nation.