The Iguanas

While many bands claim that their sound is a mixture of musical styles but only experiment superficially, the New Orleans-based Iguanas really do slither in and out of many genres. A set might begin with a muscular, horn-fueled '50s R&B workout, followed by a Tex-Mex bar number sung entirely in Spanish and then a sexy, voodooesque piece with slinky grooves. All of this and more is evident on the band's fifth record, which is perhaps its best.

Singer/guitarist/accordionist Rod Hodges leads the quintet though a richly rewarding string of tracks, from the late-night bayou mistiness of "Yesterday" and the dance-hall stomp "Mexican Candy" to the garagey/psychedelic "I Dig You" and the twin sax attack (a band staple) of "Un Avion." The title track, a wistful number about a life journey empowered by music and the radio, is nostalgic without being corny, and the band embellishes the tale with a shimmering, echo-laden guitar part.

The ballad "Abandonado" and the jam-bandish "Sugar Cane" are a couple of examples of what doesn't work on the record -- too drawn out and/or repetitious -- but these numbers are few.

Though it's not nearly as rock- oriented and frenetic as the work of fellow Big Easy band the Radiators, fans of Los Lobos and War will find plenty to enjoy here.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero