Narcocorridos (corridos about drug trafficking) have generated so much controversy and so much debate that some people who aren't very knowledgeable about regional Mexican music might think that all modern norteño recordings are narcocorridos, but that is far from the case. While narcocorridos have certainly been an exciting and vital part of norteño, the fact is that the vast majority of norteño recordings of the '80s, '90s and 2000s are not narcocorridos; in fact, there are countless norteño bands that don't perform narcocorridos at all. This self-titled Fonovisa debut by la Maquinaria Norteña is a prime example of a norteño disc that focuses on romantic themes exclusively, but most of the time, the Chihuahua, Mexico-based group is not romantic in an overly crossover-minded, pop-drenched way. Hardcore norteño along the lines of los Rieleros del Norte, los Huracanes del Norte, and Oro Norteño is their specialty, and that outlook makes for enjoyable listening on lively tracks like "Te Voy a Olvidar," "Cuando Volveras," and "Ignorante" (all of which feature frontman Sergio Soto on lead vocals but were written by group leader/saxophonist Keith Nieto, who produced the album). La Maquinaria Norteña cover their norteño bases on this 36-minute disc, providing a lot of polka beats but favoring a waltz tempo on "La Herida Mortal" and embracing Tex-Mex-style cumbia on "No Hay Manera" (which is the closest they get to tropical). The group acknowledges Latin pop on Juan Gabriel's "Inocente Pobre Amigo," but again, pop considerations are the exception rather than the rule on this 2007 release. No one who has listened to norteño extensively will accuse la Maquinaria Norteña of being groundbreaking or terribly distinctive; nonetheless, this is a satisfying, if derivative, debut that will generally appeal to those who like their norteño straight-ahead.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson