One of the most interesting aspects of the flourishing rock en español scene is the fact that for most Latin rockers, ska and reggae aren't the genre exercises that U.S. and U.K. acts often treat them as. For Salon Victoria, ska is one of the building blocks of rock, up there with blues and country. For all the skanking rhythms and staccato horn riffs on this 15-track retrospective, however, Salon Victoria are never just another ska revival band. Conjunto accordions, twangy country guitars, and aggressive, punky rock drumming complete the picture, making a Mexican-Jamaican-Anglo-American blend that's more than the sum of its parts. Sampling heavily from Salon Victoria's three previous albums along with a small handful of rarities, Salon Victoria 96-05 makes a strong case for the band as one of Mexico's best pop bands: dance songs like the frenetic "Tumbao Fregao" and "Nasty Uncle Hippie" are full-on party rock, but they also manage more material like the trio of political songs that close the album, including the searing rap-rock hybrid "Ghetto."
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason