La Tropa Chicana

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This record typifies the "quebradita" or "broken beat" banda movement of the '90s before duranguense took over the market for frenetic polkas with synthetic precision. The precision of La Tropa is something to hear. The beat swings so hard it almost drifts into triplet time. They do incorporate string synthesizer into the mix for cheesy sentimental effect on ballads, but on the closing instrumental, its effect is effervescent and intoxicating, especially when backing a catchy trumpet riff. The disc has great sequencing. Instead of slamming you from the get-go, they begin with a midtempo ballad, and gradually slip almost unnoticeably into the speed polkas that constitute the meat of the album. The second to the last song is a cumbia, a catchy resting spot, wherein the Chicanas salute the state of Michoacán, "California Girls" style. This wasn't a blockbuster, but it's still a great catchy dance collection.