Picks and Pans Review: Let It Loose

updated 07/20/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/20/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Gloria Estéfan and Miami Sound Machine

Whoops! It's a star trip alert. If it seems like only last year that this group was breaking into the big time and calling itself plain old Miami Sound Machine, that's because it was only last year. The remarkably varied album Primitive Love, a fancy concoction of pop, Latin and disco modes, led to three hit singles, more or less instant (though long-awaited) success and somebody's idea that lead singer Estéfan should move out front officially. The name change is too bad in a number of ways, not the least of which is that "Miami Sound Machine" was a catchy, unusual name, while the new moniker is mostly an unwieldy mouthful. The group's music is still slick and tuneful though, and Estéfan can at least put her mouth where her ego is. She has a rich, insinuating style—there's a little Karen Carpenter in her—and the arrangements, mostly by Lawrence Dermer and Joe Galdo, are a model of eclectic pop music. Let It Loose, for instance, features an old R&B sound, aptly decorated by a guest solo from saxophonist Clarence demons. Can't Stay Away from You, which Estéfan wrote, is a ballad that lets her emote effectively. Rhythm Is Gonna Get You is a rippling invitation to dance (and just as well, since the opening lines are "O eh, o eh, o eh, oo aah/O eh, o eh, o eh, oo aah/Yah yeh goh"—and that's the English translation). The group's resident sax man, Ed Calle, and trumpet players Randy Barlow and Teddy Mulet also make their presence heard; if Estéfan is the meat of the operation, they're the spice. (Epic)

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