It's a given that pop-rock band Maná will sell out shows wherever they go, whether it's the Staples Center (where they set the mark with 11 sell-out concerts) or in their native Mexico. But what hasn't been easy for the band is keeping the energized sound that propelled them to fame in their 1992 breakout album "Dónde Jugarán los Niños?" ("Where Will the Children Play?")
But after several uneven albums that verged too far into sweetness, Maná has found its edge again in their ninth studio album "Cama Incendiada," or "The Burning Bed."
On the opener, "Adicto a Tu Amor" ("Addicted to Your Love"), Fher Olvera's rough-hewn voice is colored with a raw sexiness that had been missing of late. On the title cut, "La Cama Incendiada," Olvera displays a range of vocal character, from whispers to playfulness and power, mixing Spanish lyrics with bits of English. "I saw you with otro guey [another guy], no, and that's not right."
The music echoes a flirtation, moving from a sly, walking rhythm to a powerful crescendo of rock guitar and horns that drop hard into the hook.
Grammy-winning producer George Noriega (Shakira, Ricky Martin, Draco Rosa) has with this new collaboration helped Maná revisit and freshen up sounds from earlier albums, blending them into modern rhythms and incorporating different sounds – including pan flutes and ska-guitar licks on "La Prision" ("The Prison").
There is so much to enjoy here that the first single release, a charming, melancholy duet with Colombia's iconic Shakira, "Mi Verdad" ("My Truth"), is almost overshadowed. And Maná's cross-border fans may be most charged by the closing "Somos Más Americanos" ("We Are More American"), with Olvera sounding more down-to-earth than ever on the immigrant anthem made famous by Los Tigres del Norte.
While the album has its shortcomings – such as the over-sweetened ballad "Ironia" ("Irony") or "Electrizado" ("Electrified") –a rocker that fails to energize, Maná fans who've been hungering for the strength of the band's early works will rejoice.
Grab those tickets for "Cama Incendiada" tour while you can. They'll go fast.