Although at first listen La Oreja de Van Gogh's third release might sound like a slick rehashing of the same pop formula that had brought the group consistent commercial success, Lo Que Te Conté Mientras Te Hacías la Dormida (What I Told You While You Pretended to Be Asleep) merits closer attention. Beyond some similarities to their earlier work -- nostalgic lyrics, ridiculously catchy choruses, and lead singer Amaia Montero's seemingly fragile delivery -- this album displays far greater emotional and musical range than do their earlier efforts. Montero and keyboard player Xabi San Martín continue to write most of the music, and guitar player Pablo Benegas most of the lyrics, but there are some notable exceptions, like album opener and first single "Puedes Contar Conmigo" (You Can Count on Me), written entirely by Montero. Here she abandons any former posturing as a helpless little girl and sings not about a fairy tale, but about love that's flawed and recognizable; when the final chorus slows, the spare outline of Montero's voice shapes a real and exquisite moment of heartbreak. In "Tú y Yo," a collaboration among all three musicians, the lyrics are simpler than elsewhere, but with their wry and modern self-awareness, they are also cleverer. San Martín takes full credit for "Geografía," a song without parallels in their repertoire, harnessing the rollicking gait of Andean pipe tunes and inventing ingenious borders for a nation made up of just two lovers. And throughout the album, there are successful musical experiments, like a bossa nova groove at the beginning of "Perdóname," a harder edged vocal line paired with a driving beat on "La Paz de Tus Ojos," or the nonsense syllables of the unnamed and completely electronic final track that frees Montero's mature and often remarkable voice to sound like another keyboard. Lo Que Te Conté Mientras Te Hacías la Dormida is La Oreja de Van Gogh's most accomplished album, and would be an excellent choice for an audience willing to lay the seductions of caliente aside in favor of a distinctly European and new wave-inflected cool.
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AllMusic Review by Jenny Gage