El Dorado

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Aterciopelados' debut disc opens with one powerful blast; "Florecita Rockera" is simply a killer song, building in intensity to a thunderous chorus hook that you don't need to speak Spanish to sing along with. "El Diablo" is cut from the same cloth, starting with near-acoustic verses that really pay dynamic dividends when the electric guitars come roaring in to hammer home the chorus. Built around the airy, very appealing voice of Andrea Echeverri, Aterciopelados boast a subtle but still rocking song-oriented approach that is unfailingly melodic. They're also a very savvy unit, consistently working smart shifts in dynamics or moods into the songs written by Echeverri or bassist Héctor Buitrago that draw from a fairly broad spectrum of rhythms. Latin percussion drives "Candela" and "Errante," "No Futuro" winds through several stages before its final acceleration, and a little reggae slips into "Colombia Connexion." "La Estaca" is almost two-step Colombian cowpunk and Aterciopelados intelligently measure out their doses of heaviness; Echeverri isn't a belter, but she also never gets overwhelmed on tracks like "Pilas or "Mujer Gala." A couple of songs sound arbitrarily cut off and the production could be more punchy, but both Aterciopelados and El Dorado keep growing on you with repeated listening.

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