Quirky, pixieish Mexican multi-instrumentalist Natalia Lafourcade followed up the off-kilter pop of her debut with the surprising decision to form an actual band, Natalia y la Forquetina. The resulting music is more rocking than that of the earlier disc, without losing any of Lafourcade's individuality. The songs combine disco rhythms with pulsing basslines and analog synths, with guitars indebted more to new wave than post-punk, and while Lafourcade's vocals are a little more assertive and less chirpy than on her debut, even on fast, aggressive tracks like "Ser Humano" or "El Amor Es Rosa," she never loses her seemingly innate good cheer. There are some side trips away from rock, too, including several acoustic ballads and the closing track, "Un Pato," an interpretation of the bossa nova song "O Pato" on which Lafourcade sings both lead and backing vocals, and vibes carry much of the melody. The production by Emmanuel del Real of Café Tacuba is crisp and clean, letting the band's interaction hold the listener's attention with a minimum of sonic trickery. Casa is a more narrowly focused album than her self-titled disc, because of the relatively straightforward arrangements and limited instrumental palette. Some might argue that 15 songs over 53 minutes is too much of a good thing, and a few could have been shaved away. But ultimately, the disc only serves to prove that Lafourcade is a serious talent, and not the tool of heavy-handed producers. After the tour for this album, Lafourcade disbanded la Forquetina and resumed recording as a solo artist.
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AllMusic Review by Phil Freeman