Feb 17, 2:57 PM EST

Music Review: 'Mono' shows 1 channel is plenty for Mavericks' polyglot sound


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The Mavericks, "Mono" (Valory)

The Mavericks have always been a rootsy band, plying musical turf from Havana to Nashville via Miami. Here their sound is more retro than ever, recalling the era when these sorts of songs were best heard on small radios and big jukeboxes.

"Mono" was recorded in - you guessed it - mono. Kids, that means everything was loaded into one channel, including horns, accordion, bouncy beats and Raul Malo's glorious tenor.

The Mavericks chose the throwback technology after listening to a bunch of vinyl records for inspiration. The resulting sound takes a little getting used to, and the arrangements become a bit cluttered on a couple of cuts.

But overall, mono serves "Mono" well as a fitting match for the Mavericks' old-school approach. There are hints of Elvis, the Drifters and Roy Orbison, lots of Latin riffs and country twang, too. It turns out one channel is plenty for the Mavericks' infectious polyglot performances.

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