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For their 13th full-length studio effort, titled Classic in the United States and Classico south of the border, norteño titans Intocable collaborated with legendary accordionist Ramón Ayala and covered an album's worth of classic songs by his former band, los Relampagos del Norte. Ayala and vocalist Cornelio Reyna pioneered norteño music during the 1960s as members of los Relampagos del Norte. Since many of the younger fans of Intocable may be unfamiliar with los Relampagos del Norte, it's nice to hear Intocable charitably pay tribute to Ayala and his former band's legacy on Classic. Hopefully, this album introduces los Relampagos del Norte to a new generation of norteño listeners. As for Intocable, Classic finds them defying expectations yet again a few years after surprising fans (and disappointing some of them) with the country-inflected album Crossroads: Cruce de Caminos (2006). At this point in their career, Intocable can afford to take some risks, and while Classic certainly defies expectations, it's not too much of a departure for the Texas-based group. In fact, it finds them somewhat restrained. With Ayala in the producer's chair, Intocable cover these los Relampagos del Norte classics rather straightforwardly. Only on the album-closing rendition of "Estamos en Algo" do they cut loose and get weird. That's not to say that the rest of the album is dull or uninteresting. Plenty of songs here are performed in a lively manner, most notably the lead single "Hay Ojitos" and "Mis Veinte Novias," and fans of old-fashioned norteño should be in heaven, fans of los Relampagos del Norte in particular. Still, those Intocable fans hoping for another album of original material with a progressive bent might find themselves mildly disappointed by Classic (which does include three new songs, it should be noted). These types of tribute albums are often more fun for the performers than their fans, and some will likely feel this way about Classic, which is clearly a dream come true for Intocable, if not all of their fans.

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