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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews


  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2008 1 Apr
Sounds like … fusion Latin-pop, funk, and rock reminiscent of Los Lobos, Gypsy Kings, Los Lonely Boys, Santana, and Burlap to CashmereAt a glance … though more tempered than Salvador's previous material, Aware further establishes the Latin pop/rock band's impressive track recordTrack Listing Fly Again What Would It Be Like Aware Everybody Needs You Llévame Undeniable You Rescue Me You Really Are Free to Be Here I Am Brand New Love

A lot has happened in the Salvador camp since the band's previous album two years ago, namely in the life of frontman Nic Gonzalez. Having spent his entire life in Austin, Texas, he relocated to Nashville after marrying Jaci Velasquez. It wasn't long before the new couple became pregnant, celebrating their one-year wedding anniversary with the birth of Zealand David.

These changes are not broadly expressed on Aware, Salvador's sixth album, but they've definitely had some influence on it. The disc isn't the fiesta that longtime fans have come to expect from previous Salvador albums. Things are more tempered and reflective here, perhaps indicative of Gonzalez's new chapter in life. But there are still parts of this album that are explosive—the band is still a beast as far as deft musicianship goes.

Some consider 2006's Dismiss the Mystery to be band's best, so it's uncanny the way some of the songs—particularly "Fly Again" and "What Would It Be Like"—sound like they were culled from those same sessions. Don't think for a moment Salvador is repeating itself, though. The sound is ultimately top-notch, and testament that the Latin powerhouse has at last carved a musical identity all its own.

That identity includes a natural penchant for thoughtful pop balladry. The soaring title track is perhaps the grandest the group has recorded yet—a piano-and-strings power anthem that's right up there with "This Is My Life" and "Crucified." Slightly more driving is "Everybody Needs You," a lilting mid-tempo number sung as a duet with Velasquez. That's not the only contribution from Gonzalez's wife. She also co-wrote "Llévame," a terrific Spanish-language track that's a throwback to the earthy Con Poder, replete with nylon-stringed guitars, organic percussion, and an instrumental breakdown that seems to come straight from Andalusia (Spain's flamenco capital).

It all amounts to a more toned-down Salvador, but no less dexterous than their past work. If anything, the band is older, wiser, and more aware than ever of its need to change and grow with the times.

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