When LPT emerged with their debut album Sin Parar (2018), it was met with critical acclaim (Billboard, Sounds & Colours, PopMatters, and more), leading them to win the “Best Latin Album at the 18th Annual Independent Music Awards” and resulted in a very busy touring schedule. Then their momentum came to a crashing halt when COVID-19 hit, making it all disappear. Instead of sulking in the tough times, the band dusted themselves off, re-grouped and got back into the studio to create their most personal and powerful release to date. The album, Se Quema El Mundo was born both out of frustration and perseverance, and is the band’s response to the low points of the pandemic. The album is out now, along with the album the band released a music video for the title track (https://youtu.be/upiW72QdACY), which gained support from NPR Alt.Latino and Jazziz.
The album title, Se Quema El Mundo (The World is Burning) is aptly titled to reflect these times. Lead vocalist Josué A. Cruz expresses, “The album name taken from our title track is, yes, the world is burning, but we are all just trying to find a way to continue. We’re all working on not failing. The world is burning and here’s what we’re doing about it. This is our hopeful contribution to the eventual, positive resolution of things. We wanted to find inspiration in adversity. Not just through the global pandemic, but all of the adversity that we share in as a community and as humans.” He adds, “The noise gets maddening and so obtrusive that the world actually seems to be burning. Hell, some days the world actually IS burning: heat waves, wild fires, oil spills. All of the heated exchanges between humans that fry nerve endings. All of it. But, we still have to move forward as a people. Eradicate all of the poisons that ruin us: racism, poverty, inequality. We still have to find a way not to fail our future generations. That may sound trite and obvious, but it is no less true right now.”
Similar to their debut, Se Quema El Mundo is an electrifying and evocative project that pushes the theme of “salsa con conciencia” (salsa with consciousness), creating music that makes listeners dance and critically think at the same time. But the new album follows the progression of the band as they evolve. Cruz sums it up, stating “What makes the new release special is that it is both timely and timeless.” This was done with the majority of the songwriting handled by Ángel García combined with Josué Cruz’s lyrical content and vocal melodies. Steve Strawley and Bryant Patterson, trumpet and trombone respectively, both added a song each. The band again worked exclusively with Ryan Leroy to engineer and mix the album. Ryan Leroy took it upon himself to use room mics and placements to create the space for the instruments. There is very little effects processing on this album, whatsoever. What you hear is what was captured and blended into the mix.
The results are an album that is rich and diverse, filled with power, emotion, and an infectious passion expertly delivered in the span of nine songs. The album features tracks like “¡Ya Basta! (Enough!)” addressing the state of our nation and “Se Quema El Mundo” a call for perseverance. There are also songs such as “Se Me Perdio,” which has a more jovial vibe to it, and the fun descarga “La Guagua.” The bolero “Delito,” a song about a frivolous lover that plays with their partners love and emotions, is LPT’s largest production to date with the inclusion of a live string section, bringing the song to life. The album runs a whole gamut of emotions and vibes, all delivered in LPT’s signature swagger and style.
For LPT, the 10-piece orchestra out of Jacksonville, Se Quema El Mundo is an album of internal and self-imposed pressure and expectation to push the band forward. Cruz concludes, “We took it upon ourselves to try and surpass what we’d achieved on Sin Parar, artistically, thematically, and musically.”