There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Couldn’t make it to Trinidad this year? Carnival ’95 gathers 14 of the most popular soca and calypso favorites blasted by that island’s sound-system disc jockeys during the annual bacchanal. These compositions are a bit formulaic, but it’s hard not to succumb to the exhilaration of their frenetically paced grooves: The tempos rarely slacken and the sound levels rarely descend. The disc’s tracks are dominated by sing-along choruses and staccato cowbell-and-keyboard rhythms, with dancehall and techno flourishes here and there. From Superblue’s opening paean to cricket player Brian Lara, “Signal for Lara”—in which trebly synth beats and horn blasts are quickly followed by Blue’s plea for listeners to raise their “bats in the air”—to Preacher’s closing “Dance Like a Baptist,” with its joyously nonsensical verses, the album does a fine job of capturing the energetic aural flavor of the event. There’s a novelty quality to some of the songs—Ajala’s “Horsie” samples the theme from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and a horse’s neigh, while Gabby’s leering “Doctor Kassandra” includes cooing female backing vocals—yet none of them are so over the top that their ability to keep a crowd jumping is compromised.