Bengala's Oro, as many second albums before it, finds the band oscillating between duplicating its debut and probing new avenues for growth. Produced by Molotov's Tito Fuentes, and once again engineered by Café Tacuba's Tony Peloso, Oro starts where the first album left off, with the Strokes-influenced "Cárcel," all driving bass and rhythm guitar patterns intersected with bursts of lead guitar or keyboard lines. Successive tracks add to the recipe by recalling the alternative rock reinvention of prog rock of, say, the Smashing Pumpkins -- or going even further back, the hard rock guitar plus rolling organ sound of the Doors in the single "Vamos Otra Vez." As the album progresses, the raw energy of its opening starts to mellow as Bengala try their hand at a few experiments, including an improbable guest appearance by singer and telenovela veteran Daniela Romo that works quite well, and a one-and-a-half-minute sound effects collage that is rather pointless. While the first album probably had better songs (lyrics in particular are a problem, largely unremarkable and dealing almost obsessively with strained relationships), Bengala's power and hard work cannot be denied. The musicianship is tight and a lot of effort has been devoted, in reverb-drenched layer after layer of instruments, to imbue these compositions with notable variations in texture and dynamics. Bengala may still be looking for their identity on Oro, but they certainly seem to have the means to travel farther. Oro was awarded the 2010 Latin Grammy in the Best Alternative Music Album category.
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AllMusic Review by Mariano Prunes