Los Piojos

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Azul Review

by Victor W. Valdivia

Even by the standards of Latin rock bands, Los Piojos are amazingly eclectic in their approach to music. Like their countrymen Los Fabulosos Cadillacs they incorporate reggae and Caribbean rhythms, but they also show an influence of classic rock and alternative. That's not to say that they don't explore their Latin roots on various instances (especially the samba-influenced "Murguita"), but their sound goes all over the place, going so far as to include strings and a children's choir. "El Rey Del Blues" is a salute to falling in love to B.B. King, and it's done in a greasy, roadhouse style that would make the Fabulous Thunderbirds proud. "Quemado," a bone-chilling depiction of suicide, is the album's best track, a long ballad that shows as much complexity as any Radiohead epic. The lyrics are also wide-ranging, veering from nakedly revealing self-portraits to Michael Stipe-like inscrutability. As diverse as the album gets, though, nothing ever feels forced or contrived. Azul is the only one of Los Piojos' four albums available in the U.S, but it is a superb introduction to their talent and may inspire listeners to seek out their earlier releases.

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