Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews
The Waitiki7 – New Sounds of Exotica – Pass Out Records
Published on May 28, 2010
The Waitiki7 – New Sounds of Exotica – Pass Out Records POR 7002, 48.1 minutes ****:
Just the thing for your 21st century playboy’s lounge! This is the second album by the Hawaii-based group trying to create a new sound of exotica that harkens back to Martin Denny, Les Baxter and Arthur Lyman, while allowing for more creativity and modern influences, including Afro-Cuban rhythms and jazz. There are also Latin and classical influences in some of the numbers. This is not all of the same cloth; the variety of musical approaches within the theme is wide.
The band is seven strong, with a vibist sitting in on two of the tracks. Percussion Lopaka Colon is kept very busy making the bird and animal sounds in the background on some of the tunes, which are de regueur for this sort of thing. At first they sound hilarious, but eventually one gets into the swing of things (have another Mai Tai…) and it all seems to work. The lead voices include flutes, soprano sax, piano, violin, vibes and xylophone, which please my ears. The arrangements are just right and some of the soloists shine when they’re in the spotlight. Bassist Randy Wong is the leader of the group. You wouldn’t expect the tune Ruby to work in this setting, but it’s most effective, and the Lex Baxter original Tiki brought back the memory of some 3¾-speed ½-mil tapes I put together for nefarious background music purposes as a young man.
TrackList: Similau, Flower Humming, Bali Ha’i, When First I Love, Tiki, Voodoo Love, Ruby, China Fan, Firecracker, Sweet Pikake Serenade
– John Henry