With their latest release, Puerto Rico’s Los Wálters try to craft the perfect album for a road trip around la isla. Verano Panorámico is the duo’s follow up to their debut LP #ponteelcasco, the break out record that carved them a place amongst our favorite up and comers in the international scene. Their music is one of the most uncompromisingly tropical spirits out there (alongside the usual suspects like El Guincho and Bomba Estéreo). Its roots are everything. Verano Panorámico wants to be a quintessentially Puerto Rican album that incorporates quintessentially local elements (piraguas, urbanizaciones, spanglish, etc.). But it doesn’t feel insular or like an insider’s game; instead, it offers a smidgen of Puerto Ricanness to all.
A few of the underlying themes in many of Los Wálters’ songs—collectivity, discovery, rural versus urban, dance as catharsis—are all here, pushing the mostly danceable nine-song album to its guitar-only conclusion. “Urbanización,” the album’s halfway point, is its climax, both musically and lyrically; while “Vapor” sees them teaming up with fellow local, Fofe Abreu (of Circo and Fofe y los Fetiches fame).
In the end, Verano Panorámico feels more like a concept album than just your run-of-the-mill sophomore effort. The themes are tightly woven, the order of the tracks is fiercely intentional, and the arch is achieved. At times it can feel one note, every track serving the purpose of the well-oiled machine that makes it run. We don’t get much risk or chaos, but we do get a tight, charming album we can dance to, and that’s just as noble.