Area 52

  • Record Label: ATO
  • Release Date: Jan 24, 2012

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
Buy On
  1. Jan 23, 2012
    This album expands the very definition of musical collaboration.
  2. Feb 7, 2012
    Here they are in sonic competition with a dense mix of world-class musicians, making the overall result great, but washing out the instrumental singularity that they are known for.
  3. Uncut
    Jan 20, 2012
    There's a punch that saves them [from] drifting into coffee-table politesse. [Feb 2011, p.98]
  4. Q Magazine
    Feb 22, 2012
    Groundbreaking and mind-boggling. [Mar 2012, p.111]
  5. Mojo
    Jan 31, 2012
    They're still best when the basic Paco Pena influences surface. [Feb 2012, p.94]
  6. Jan 20, 2012
    This album will infuriate many but bewitch some.
  7. Jan 20, 2012
    A classy, varied and upbeat set.
  8. Entertainment Weekly
    Jan 20, 2012
    Call it Buena Vista Shredding Club. [27 Jan 2012, p.71]
  9. 70
    As an Afro-Cuban record, it's solid.
  10. Jan 25, 2012
    The charm of the band's guitar work sometimes gets lost in the middle of C.U.B.A.'s added instrumentation.
  11. Jan 30, 2012
    The often overly-enthusiastic arrangements threaten to smother the qualities that made Rodrigo y Gabriela special in the first place with the quiet brutality of their guitar playing often lost in the extended jam-band style... structures.
  12. Jan 23, 2012
    With clean production and virtuoisitic precision, imagine a Latin, metal, jazz inspired mellow mele, on acoustic instruments.
  13. Jan 26, 2012
    Their sense of adventure seemingly knows no bounds, yet when, after six leisurely minutes of jazz-rock noodling, 11.11 suddenly segues into a passage of Cuban folk singing backed by a lone drummer, the strong whiff of pretension might hang rather too heavy in the air for some tastes.
  14. Feb 10, 2012
    Area 52 is hands down the duo's most grandiose, outlandish opus yet.
  15. Jan 24, 2012
    It's a nice project that might have been put to better use as a one night only concert, because it's certainly not the crucial next step in the continued evolution of this otherwise fascinating duo.
  16. Jan 23, 2012
    It's a qualified success.
  17. It's an enjoyable album, and the playing is astoundingly good.
  18. A seething, soundtracky, high-gloss, high-energy orchestral Latin "fusion", full of licks and stabs and twiddly bits.
  19. Feb 10, 2012
    Mis-steps like the sticky Santana-worship on 'Hanuman' are far less palatable, but when the combinations match up, it proves exactly how impressive this band have become.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 6 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Feb 10, 2013
    I found this album on an airplane, of all places. I have a love of big, brassy Latin jazz ensemble work, so this seemed intriguing, evenI found this album on an airplane, of all places. I have a love of big, brassy Latin jazz ensemble work, so this seemed intriguing, even though I had no previous exposure to Rodrigo y Gabriela or C.U.B.A. I don't quite know how to describe the album, but I know that it works. The guitar work is virtuosic at times (Gabriela, I assume), but the brass band adds something to the mix that makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts. It is like melding two very different, albeit Latin, worlds. Because I did not listen to this album knowing what Rodrigo y Gabriela sounded like on their own, so I assumed, actually, that the two groups always recorded together. I guess that is a compliment, as they sound like they belong together to me. Full Review »