Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Arriba la Cumbia! [Crammed Discs, 2008]
Want a recipe for Steam Table Surprise? How about an English DJ in search of "the latest global dance music phenomenon" promoting a charming, Colombian-gone-Latin style whose heyday was half a century ago? Fold in some Euro modernizers just to stink the joint up a little more. But then culinary magic happens, and the mélange ends up some kind of cross between one of those fabled musical gumbos and the world's tastiest processed chicken fingers. Salted with autèntico old-timers whenever the corn syrup gets too thick, a Bristol trio and a Mexican DJ and some arty reggaetonians and the beat firm of Droesemeyer & Wetzler and Basement Jaxx getting in on the action rev up squeezeboxes real and imagined. Piece de resistance: Fulanito's "Merencumbiaso," in which a bunch of NYC Dominicans blend Latin America's pokiest pop dance style with its speediest. A-