One of Grupo Bryndis' previous albums was titled Cumbias Romanticas, and that title could just as easily be applied to El Quinto Trago. This 2004 release is dominated by romantic cumbia -- not hardcore cumbia, but a light, smooth pop version of cumbia (which was created in Colombia and subsequently given a Mexican interpretation just as Mexican musicians put their recognizable spin on German polka and Afro-Cuban son). In the hands of both Colombian and Tex-Mex musicians, cumbia can be gritty and hard-swinging, but that isn't the sort of approach that Grupo Bryndis is going for on El Quinto Trago. This is, first and foremost, an album of Latin pop -- Latin adult contemporary, if you will -- and polished sleekness prevails on urbane tracks like "La Vida Es Asi," "La Ultima Cancion," "Fue un Sueño," and "Perdoname Mi Amor" (which shouldn't be confused with the Conjunto Primavera hit, although Bryndis and Primavera both represent the softer, lighter side of regional Mexican music). Grupo Bryndis aren't catering to a Tigres del Norte/Rieleros del Norte/Huracanes del Norte sort of crowd on this album -- not at all. Rather, El Quinto Trago is for those who are into grupero stars like los Angeles de Charly, los Temerarios, los Yonic's, and the abovementioned Conjunto Primavera -- that is Bryndis' target audience, and this CD does nothing to alienate that audience. El Quinto Trago won't go down in history as the most adventurous or challenging regional Mexican CD of 2004; it is, however, a pleasant and good-natured, if predictable, example of their light cumbia approach.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson