Sunday, December 10, 2006

Pop: Los Amigos Invisibles - Superpop Venezuela

Hi folks, I’m El Guiri! From now on I will be at your service, supporting Chapín here. What can you expect from me? No know-it-all expert reviews, just my humble opinion on some música Latina!

For my first post, it was my pleasure to listen to Superpop Venezuela, the fifth album of Los Amigos Invisibles. I felt quite ignorant not knowing the only latin band featured in Amazon's top 10 albums of 2006. But now I do, and I’m very glad, because LAI rock! Well, literally they don’t: they dance, they salsa, they funk, but they certainly do not rock. In fact, the group was born in 1991 as a reaction to the many rocker and dark acts frequently found in theaters in Caracas at that time. On this album, LAI pay a tribute to their teenage pop heroes: all seventeen tracks are covers of Venezuelan oldies (by Ernesto Luis Rodríguez for example), produced and mixed by French DJ Dimitri.

After the intro, the first real track "Miss Venezuela" immediately takes us back to one of those good old fashioned kitschy shows of the sixties, including samples of a simpering beauty queen and a cheering crowd. In "All Day Today" and "Curda y Pan", we hear a more African sound and jump to the seventies. In "No Es Facil Amar", for the first time we hear singer Julio Briceño’s great voice: Gustavo Cerati-like vocals are accompanied by funky bossa nova guitars. I guess you’ve already noticed: these guys are seriously mixing up all kinds of genres. In "Yo Soy Así", they even introduce rap!

Yo, yo soy así, porque me gusta a mí.

¡Y a mí! "Rosario", a sweet love song, brings bossa nova and seventies synths back in, and treats us to a very kitschy pa-pa-para-pa chorus. Why not? Next is "Yo No Sé", the first single of the album. Funky guitars again, nice beat, but maybe not the best choice for a single. "Caramelo y Chocolate" must be a joke: completely wicked eighties synths compete with Briceño’s whining voice. But after this one, LAI get back to business: "Amar Es Algo Mas", the first track where we hear their Latin American roots, is maybe the best song on the album, but also the most traditional one.

Tracks eleven to eighteen are slightly less surprising than the ones we’ve heard until now: more ballads, funk and seventies sounds. Nevertheless, every song is worth listening, and every single one is special in its own way: the very sunny "Dun Dun", for example, reminded me of "The Girl From Ipanema", but then all of a sudden introduces small bits of acid and drum ‘n’ bass. Conclusion: Los Amigos are crazy. The last track, "San Agustín", begins with a ranchera-rhythm and, like every decent ranchera-party does, ends in pure borrachera: we say goodbye to our Amigos listening to drunken people singing and laughing. This song condenses what the album is all about: ¡alegría!

Superpop Venezuela is a sunny and funny album that feels a lot like holiday. It offers an unseen mix of Latin and seventies music, but at the same time it’s based on traditional bolero-like lyrics about heartache and love, and is therefore very difficult to classify. But hey, poco importa, as long as we can boogie to it!

Los Amigos Invisibles - No Es Facil Amar mp3 buy@iTunes buy@CD Universe
Los Amigos Invisibles - Amar Es Algo Más mp3 buy@iTunes buy@CD Universe


g ortiz said...

good review
special kind of music
I like!