Puerto Rico’s Raquel Berríos and Luis Alfredo Del Valle – partners at home as well as in the studio – relocated to New York some years ago, growing their sexy song-and-dance duo act there. Post-Hurricane Maria, however, their island called them home, and so this new album was created there, and bears a title that translates to “return”. The homecoming was bittersweet – Regresa’s songs burst with bright colours, but there’s a heavy streak of blue throughout.
A hint of the frivolous reggaetón-meets-vaporwave that defined the duo’s early days on the New York dive-bar circuit remains, subtly psychedelic effects abound, and the lilting Latin groove adds a nice palm-trees-at-sunset vibe. There’s far more than empty calories here, though.
The music harkens back not to Tito Puente or Willie Colón, or even Ricky Martin for that matter, but rather to the refined and stylish “adult” pop of the ’80s, acts like Sade (strikingly, on “Mío”) and Talk Talk (“Nydia”, dedicated to the celebrated Puerto Rican cinema star who’d followed a similar round-trip career path in her day). The mighty Helado Negro helps out with some rich arrangements on “Club Tú y Yo”.
Lyrically, moreover, the pair address the recent hardships facing the home they once knew, alongside more intimate domestic reflections. In short, heartbreak and hope coexist here, as does a whole lotta love.