Quimika Musical

Amor Bandido

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Despite the innovative retro-art packaging, this is meat-and-potatoes Columbian minor-key cumbia. This stuff is great when there are hooks and a groove -- and a little bit of grimey darkness to the music doesn't hurt. Amor Bandido doesn't really have that many great hooks, although of course it has plenty of attempts at them. But the groove is solid and any of these tracks would hold their own on playlists in clubs or parties. As for darkness, well, their very slight quirkiness -- which won't be apparent to anyone unfamiliar with cumbia lyrics, Hispanic tropical party culture, or Spanish -- makes up for it somewhat. Hardly an essential disc but not a dull one either.

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