Various Artists

Bimexicano: Nuestros Clásicos Hechos Rock

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This single-disc compilation gathers re-recordings of classic Mexican songs by an array of Latin alternative artists, in celebration of the country's bicentennial. Almost all the artists are Mexican themselves, with three exceptions: Enrique Bunbury is from Spain (though he's probably more famous in Mexico than his homeland), Aterciopelados are Colombian, and Sr. Flavio is a member of Argentina's Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. Bunbury's treatment of "Vámonos" is great, an acoustic guitar-led, country-ish ballad. Natalia Lafourcade's "La Cigarra" is similarly moody; one can picture clouds of smoke drifting toward the ceiling of a darkened bar as she croons the lyrics, the little-girl quality of her early vocals now almost entirely gone. Ely Guerra gives "La Llorona" a suitably dark vibe, with percussion and synths that almost take the song into Portishead territory. Not everything is downtempo, of course; indie pop act Hello Seahorse turn "Cielo Rojo" into a post-punk throb, driven by prominent bass and minimal, Cure-ish keyboards, while Kinky's version of "Sombras Nada Más" is a dancefloor anthem built on a foundation of synthesized handclaps and one-finger synth. Sr. Flavio ends the disc with a rave-up version of "El Son de la Negra" that's equal parts ska and "Woolly Bully"-esque garage rock, much like the sound of his band, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. This is a fun compilation with very few real duds, and a lot of unexpected treats.

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