Los de Abajo

Cybertropic Chilango Power

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On their eponymous 1998 U.S. debut, Mexico's Los de Abajo established themselves as part of the burgeoning Latin alternative scene, heavily musically influenced by the frenetic beat of ska. The intervening time has seen them tour a lot and obviously grow a great deal. Cybertropic Chilango Power finds the roots intact but the horizons and ideas vastly expanded. Instead of keeping purely within the punk/alternative scene, they're capable at looking at other areas of Mexican music, including the more traditional ranchera, bolero, and corrido and embracing them -- a case of looking forward by also looking backward. So while the ska beat throbs through "Si Existe Ese Lugar," and "Nada" sounds almost like a parody of standard Latin alternative, songs like "Anda Levanta" and "Vuelvo A Comenzar" see them forging in more acoustic directions and showing they're opening up to the music of Mexico that's around them. Add to that the found sounds of Mexico City -- most especially from the circus -- and you have what's really their vision of Mexico at the beginning of the third millennium. And what they see, quite obviously, is an interesting mix where the past and future come together and things can be quite bizarre. Really, this is the first album of their maturity, and it's impressive. They've retained their youthful energy, but added a layer of thought that takes them to an entirely new level.

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