FORBIDDEN, the 1984 release from Spain's popular funk outfit Barrabas, features guestwork from Herbie Mann, Ray Gomes, and Michael Brecker.
Barrabas' 1984 return is a very slight improvement over the pair of 1982 albums that are best left forgotten, only evident in the fact that the band seems more comfortable and into what they're doing. This band would have served a better purpose in the '80s if they had used more female vocalists. The playing is always top-notch and professional, but the belting masculine vocals they favor are better suited for a rock band, because they often overpower arrangements that call for more sensitive, melodic, and occasionally dramatic vocal turns. Furthermore, lyrics were never the group's strong point; they would've been better off relying on their instrumental prowess rather than covering the same topics (working, getting loaded, trying to score with the chicks) favored by the corporate rock bands of the time. The worst/best song title goes to "Sex Surprise Big Surprise," which is about going to a party and being approached from behind by a prospective partner; this person turns out to be something other than what was expected. ~ Andy Kellman
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