Mo' Wax - 2003 - 54 minutes
Most skateboarders go for music that rocks hard. Be it West Coast punk or East Coast rap, the soundtrack to railslides and ollies is normally abrasive and loud.
Ex-skateboarder Tommy Guerrero is an exception to that rule. The man who took on Tony Hawk and won is has surrendered to his love of the acoustic guitar, and reinvented himself. His new musical persona is a purveyor of laidback, latin-tinged instrumental grooves.
'Soul Food Taqueria' would make pleasant beach listening, its spicy rhythms floating by like condensation rolling down an icy bottle of beer. Like those jazzy Beastie Boys tracks where they just relaxed and let the funk flow, the sound is undemanding and smooth.
'Thank You Mk' takes a syncopated beat last heard on Copacabana Beach in 1964, then overlays sweet guitar licks in the style of Verve's king of the jazz guitar, Wes Montgomery. Tatanka drives a chunky bassline through a forest of effects-laden fretwork that recalls the Isley Brothers at their imperious best. Other highlights include the bongo-driven 'Lost Unfound' and the melancholic piano beauty of 'Falling Awake'.
'Soul Food Taqueira's warm instrumental qualities will win it admirers, but the slo-mo loungy sound has become a cliché and Guerrero never really cuts loose enough to break out of his laidback box.
Soporific, over polite and too damn quiet, 'Soul Food Taqueira' veers dangerously close to snooze territory.
Tracklisting: Lectric Chile Goat (Intro) - Abierto - Organism - Thank You Mk - Tatanka - Train Of Thought (Interlude) - It Gets Heavy - Thin Brown Layer - So Many Years Ago (Interlude) - Terra Unfirma - Getting It Together - Another Brother Gone - Broken Blood - And The Day Goes By (Interlude) - Lost Unfound - Colour Of Life - Falling Awake