Hurray for the Riff Raff - The Navigator album review: pulsing with pride, honesty and flair

The Navigator
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Artist: Hurray for the Riff Raff
Genre: Singer / Songwriter
Label: ATO

Alynda Segarra is not the only member of New Orleans-based Hurray for the Riff Raff, but with due respect to her deliciously loose band, she is the only one who really matters: her voice, her songs, her tone, her imagination, attest to a singular talent in the American vernacular music tradition.

This is Hurrah's second album on ATO, but instead of following the folk-rock blueprint of 2014's irresistible Small Town Heroes, Segarra sidesteps into her native Puerto Rican heritage for a record that pulses with pride, honesty and flair. The 12 tracks are sequenced like a show.

Characters express their hopes and fears, both personal and political, on a stream of strong songs including Hungry Ghost, the title tune, Nothing Gonna Change That Girl, Rican Beach and the anthemic Pa'lante, which roughly translates as "forward", advice not lost on herself.

Needs time but repays handsomely.