Every unplugged album reaches for the level of regular studio records, but so far, only Nirvana succeeded, and Panda's offering is no exception to the rule. This is definitely not the place to begin with the Mexican band, which, in its main incarnation, plays energetic pop-punk that draws on blink-182 but substitutes a down-to-earth emo vibe for the trio's glorious sleaze. Their songwriting is good but not earth-shattering, and, like many bands who aren't blink-182 or Sunny Day Real Estate, they have to compensate for it with power of delivery -- which they pull off splendidly on normal records, but lose once they take the foot off the distortion pedal. Panda have a considerable supply of ballads, and understandably go heavy on those on this unplugged set. But there's only so much balladry that you can line up before it all blends into an incomprehensible blur of sweet exalted sappiness that leaves the listener reaching for that Screeching Weasel record, just to snap back awake -- and Panda do take the ballad thing one step too far here. Then again, the album should simply be taken as an add-on to the band's catalog, not a proper album, and when viewed this way, it offers to those already familiar with the group's music -- Para Ti con Desprecio is a good place to start, by the way -- an enjoyably raw and emotional take on the originals that brings both the sunny vibe and the dramatic (well, sometimes melodramatic) message of Panda's music to the forefront.
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AllMusic Review by Alexey Eremenko
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2