Vallejo's latest effort Into the New is an exciting blend of Latin percussion and a bit of southern-styled rock. The project is the first from the group with Crescent Moon Records, a company that was founded by Emilio Estefan Jr. The group is made up of three core members, brothers A.J, Alejandro, and Omar Vallejo.
Into the New was co-produced by the group and Michael Barbiero, whose known for his work with Blues Traveler, Guns N’ Roses, and Metallica and it was recorded at the Arlyn Studio in Austin, Texas, the home state of the band. In fact, Vallejo has gained significant recognition in their town, including the title of Best Rock Band at this year’s Austin Music Awards.
The disc is a mixed bag of enjoyment, with a handful of straight-out rock songs, a few hip-hop-influenced tracks, and even a few Spanish-sounding tunes. Kicking off with a dose of rock on the title cut “Into the New,” the tune foreshadows how the group plans to lay out fresh ground throughout the album, being careful not to repeat themselves musically at any point.
Vallejo has certainly branched out musically since their 1998 album Beautiful Life. Although that project also featured a vast array of influences, from Los Lobos to Collective Soul, the current project showcases the group’s ability to take musical risks. These risks basically center around the band’s refusal to be categorized by genre. Each song throws a wrench into rote categorization by offering up a different style or blend of genres.
The instrumental track “El Matador” is a primary example of that genre blender, as Latin beats are consistently delivered while the song maintains an urban groove. “Modern Day Slave” combines rock and roll sounds with a guest rap by Austin’s MC Overload. “Classico” reflects the group’s obvious influence from Carlos Santana. Vallejo could have easily teamed up with the guitar god on his latest album Supernatural for a killer jam session.
All in all Vallejo serves up a potion of music suitable for the taste buds of a wide variety of music fans. It will be interesting to see how they are embraced this time out by the music consuming public and what genre they will be filed in at record stores across the nation!
// Notes from the Road
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