Tommy Guerrero

Tommy Guerrero

Soul Food Taqueria

Mo Wax/Beggars Group

Look, if Jason Lee can go from pro skateboarder to “actor,” why the hell can’t Tommy Guerrero make the same transition into music? After all, the latter is much better in his second chosen profession than the former (though, for some reason, I do consider Mr. Lee a guilty pleasure of mine).

On his sophomore full-length effort, Guerrero has shown that the hype he received for A Little Bit of Somethin’ was no fluke and will continue, at least, until his next release. What the man does here is add a depth and soul so rarely heard in the lo-fi/downtempo field, which has recently been watered down in its latest “chill out” manifestation.

Soul Food Taqueria is an exemplary album. It is melancholy sweet with flair and heart. Guerrero plays most of the instruments himself and does so deftly. There’s no pomp or circumstance. It is 100% soul. He constructs heartfelt music with a complexity few can pull off successfully. Whether he’s delving into blues or flamenco, his guitar work is subtle and works the spaces between the beats marvelously. He knows what and when to play and when not to play, utilizing space and his sparse sound to ultimate effect between the live percussion, Jupiter-heavy bass lines and caramel-cream synths.

The title of this album is a perfect summation of what Guerrero delivers. It’s a spicy fusion of soul, funk, hip-hop and Latin flavors stirred up in an intoxicating downtempo gumbo that is hard to resist. The man knows how to groove and will have you doing the same within minutes of hearing the first notes ooze from your speakers.

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