Let’s Dance – Dennis Cruz: Roots (Crosstown Rebels)

dennis-cruz

reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

This is the first album from established Spanish producer and DJ Dennis Cruz, who is ready to put his own spin on house music through a ten-track long player. He does this with a succession of guest artists, topped by an appearance from the late Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, but also including P. Rivas, Ian Luvig, Josh Butler, Iuliano Mambo and Leo Wood.

What’s the music like?

The propulsive rhythms of La Ratonera start the album, a signal of intent with their persuasive shimmying. The nine-minute track has plenty of room to grow, with sultry flute work and the sound of a party in the distance. This cuts to Los Tamales, an instrumental with a lovely swing to its rhythm and old-time piano riff. Later another instrumental, Bend, plays some games with a trumpet and voice imitating each other over a bouncy beat.

Ian Luvig then steps up to provide the stripped back vocal for Good Old Days, a minimal affair with quite a stark texture but a mission to hit the dancefloor hard. The same could be said for Ecua, with some flamenco flavoured brilliance added to the mix, spliced and diced by Cruz’s skilful production. The temperature stays heated for What U Doing, with Leo Wood’s sultry vocals dressing a heat hazed bed of keyboards.

Go Down will be of great interest to fans of the late Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, who fronts a busy rhythm track. This is a night piece that cuts up his voice inventively, delivering a fluid groove to go with it. It is countered nicely by the raucous trumpets of Ahora Toda Va (Dub), where Josh Butler whips up the crowd.

Te Quiero Cantar takes us back towards the pool, a really nice Mediterranean flavoured instrumental, before Back Again hooks up with Iuliano Mambo for a woozy, sun soaked jam with a big bass sound.

Does it all work?

It does. There is nothing staid or square about Dennis Cruz’s take on house music – the rhythms sway and sashay their way around the dancefloor as he applies plenty of flavour to the mix, keen to show off his Spanish heritage to the max. The vocal guests are the icing on the cake.

Is it recommended?

For sure. Cruz brings warmth to the winter with a set of grooves that prove pretty much irresistible.

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