Los Rehenes

Otro Vino, Otra Copa

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In the 21st century, it makes perfect sense for los Rehenes to call themselves los Rehenes de Javier Torres instead of simply los Rehenes. Lead singer Torres is not only known for leading and directing the band -- he is also known for the successful solo career he launched in 1994. So his name carries a lot of weight in the Mexican market. Otro Vino, Otra Copa does nothing to harm Torres' fine reputation; los Rehenes have delivered yet another enjoyable collection of Mexican pop (mostly romantic). This 2002 release isn't groundbreaking, but it's definitely solid -- and Torres, true to form, brings a lot of charm and charisma to his performances. In contrast to the earthiness of traditional norteño, ranchero, and mariachi artists, a lot of romantic Mexican pop can be quite slick; that slicker approach is to Mexicans what salsa romantica is to Cuban and Puerto Ricans. But Torres and los Rehenes have exemplified the earthier side of Mexican pop, and even though Otro Vino, Otra Copa isn't pure norteño -- certainly not the way that los Tigres del Norte or los Rieleros del Norte are pure norteño -- it does have a very down-home ambience. Under Torres' direction, los Rehenes draw on norteño liberally, and they are also mindful of ranchero (a main ingredient of norteño/Tex-Mex) and Mexican-style cumbia. Los Rehenes, like other Mexican pop stars, don't offer an exact replica of Colombian cumbia -- instead, they are influenced by the Mexican interpretation of Columbia's cumbia rhythm. Also, los Rehenes aren't afraid to look outside the Latin world for inspiration. Reggae is another influence, and "Dónde Estás" and "El Padre Que No Volvió" have a ska-minded exuberance. Although Otro Vino, Otra Copa falls short of essential, los Rehenes' die-hard fans will find it to be a consistently engaging addition to their sizable catalog.

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