Gozo Poderoso

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Having gone to the minimalist electronica brink with Caribe Atómico, Aterciopelados take a step back toward more accessible song forms on their fourth release. The spare arrangements remain built on textures and the group still hasn't returned to the rock fold, but there is more flesh to these songs' bones right from the opener, "Luz Azul." Having served his studio-smarts apprenticeship on earlier efforts (especially Caribe Atómico), Héctor Buitrago handles the production himself. "El Álbum" retains a bit of a Latin feel, and "Uno Lo Mio y Lo Tuyo" and the singalong ode to human oneness, "La Misma Tijera," have chorus hooks that stick. The melody and closing vocals to "Transparente" are a perfect match for Andrea Echeverri's vocal personality, and so are the spacy sound effects that Buitrago inserts into the arrangements. But the fact that this collection of songs isn't that strong and that Echeverri's undeniable vocal charm can't work its usual wonders raises some questions. Gozo Poderoso is probably the least essential release by Aterciopelados, and one that makes you wonder more than a little where they're headed.

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