Omnivore takes a fresh look at the San Francisco-based Latin-rock group Malo through the lens of their singles. The bandâ€™s original run of 1970s albums (Malo, Dos, Evolution and AscenciÃ³n) can be found in reissue, alongside live albums and best ofs, but the original single edits (courtesy of Maloâ€™s producer, David Rubinson) have been harder to come by. The interest in these sides lays in the resonance they will have for those who first met Malo on the radio. The groupâ€™s first single, â€œSuavecito,â€ is presented here in the shortened 3:29 version that climbed to #18 on the Billboard Top 100. The longer album version, from the groupâ€™s self-titled debut, is certainly worth having, but may seem oddly long to those weaned on the single.
The bandâ€™s mix of rock, soul, funk and Latin flavors were powered by a punchy rhythm section, tight horn charts, and the guitar playing of Jorge Santana and Abel Zarate. The tightly edited singles presented here elide intros, instrumental passages and lengthy jams that gave the albums flavor. That said, the highly-charged arrangements of guitar, percussion and horns were the bandâ€™s calling card, and though not heard at album length on the singles, are still the focal point of many of these sides. Some of the tunes, such as â€œCafe,â€ feel as if they were cut off just as the band was taking flight, while others were more artfully edited into shorter form.
Omnivore has gathered Maloâ€™s six singles for Warner Bros. – Aâ€™s and Bâ€™s – plus a single that was prepared (â€œJust Say Goodbyeâ€ b/w â€œPanaâ€) but only released in Turkey. Given that the bandâ€™s first single was the only one to chart, itâ€™s likely that many listeners will be unfamiliar with terrific sides that include a soulful cover of â€œI Donâ€™t Know,â€ the funky B-side â€œThink About Loveâ€ and the instrumental â€œJust Say Goodbye.â€ To hear the band in full flight, youâ€™ll need the albums, but those looking for an intro, or deep fans wanting to hear how the bandâ€™s jams were tamed for radio will enjoy this volume. All stereo, except #4. [Â©2018 Hyperbolium]