Cuando Los Ángeles Lloran

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Although stylistically similar to DONDE JUGARAN LOS NINOS, CUANDO LOS ANGELES LLORAN ("When the Angels Cry") is a relatively harder-rocking, stripped-down record for Mexican pop-rock outfit Mana. The sweet, atmospheric synth sounds of past records are pushed more to the background and Sergio Vallin joins the band as first-chair guitarist, with a piercing, heavy metal sound that shifts seamlessly between crunching chords and soaring, Van Halen-esque leads. Mana's members seem to gel more than ever as a distinct band here, and the result is some of the tightest songwriting and production in their discography.

"Como Un Perro Enloquecido" ("Like a Mad Dog") is pure fun, alternating between Police-style ragga rhythms and double-time, up-tempo rock & roll. Peppered with staccato horn breaks, "Dejame Entrar" is a funky number, with vocalist Fher insisting on access to his lover's soul. The title track is Mana's touching tribute to murdered Brazilian environmental and indigenous land rights activist Chico Mendes. It opens with the distant toll of church bells and a poignant acoustic guitar vignette by Vallin, giving way to slow-grooving, stirring verses about Mendes' life and a chorus striped with characteristically seamless vocal harmonies.

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