In a city that has synthesized musical styles throughout its history, a boogaloo band makes perfect sense. Los Po-Boy-Citos embraced that mingling ethic from the start, merging New Orleans R&B hits with boogaloo tunes on 2008’s New Orleans Latin Soul. On Brand New Dance, the band resists the temptation to become a gimmick and only returns once to the mash-up concept. The title track welds Eddie Bo’s “Check Your Bucket” to Archie Bell and the Drells’ “Tighten Up” and regrooves the results in a way that sounds not only natural but obvious, as if someone should have done this years ago.
As a band, Los Po-Boy-Citos have themselves tightened up since their last album and grown as players, so the pleasures go beyond a good concept and a good groove. The horn players put solo time to good use, but not to such a degree that anyone loses sight of this as dance music played by an ensemble. They have become sufficiently fluent in the boogaloo musical vocabulary to write in the style, adding four originals to a set of well-chosen covers, and it’s not immediately obvious which is which. The spoken word intro to a reworked “Jive Samba” is a red herring that makes the rearranged Cannonball Adderley composition sound like an original, while the snappy “Long Way Home” sounds like it has been around forever.
Like the crate-digger soul bands, Los Po-Boy-Citos are hopelessly inauthentic in one sense—most of them are young white guys—but their passion for the classic boogaloo records has led them to preserve the form in sound, song and feel. Brand New Dance is a solid step forward for the band.