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Review: 'El Objeto Antes Llamado Disco' by Cafe Tacuba

October 22, 2012|By Reed Johnson
  • Ruben Albarran, left, Emmanuel del Real and Quique Rangel of Tacuba.
Ruben Albarran, left, Emmanuel del Real and Quique Rangel of Tacuba. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles…)

On "De Este Lado Del Camino," the third track from their new album, Café Tacuba celebrates the art of creative meandering. "From this side of the street, without looking for any destination / and although the design isn't very clear," lead singer Rubén Albarrán intones in Spanish, his gravelly honeyed tenor guiding the rhythm section through a gathering storm of ethereal keyboard chords on its leisurely sojourn.

Unhurried and unworried about the trail ahead, but sure of its ultimate purpose: that artistic approach has defined the Mexico City quartet and helped it endure for two decades as one of alt-Latin rock's most popular and influential acts.

Its ironically titled new disc (with a nod to Prince, it translates as "The Object Previously Called a Record") was five years in the making, and during that interval Latin pop and rock have been swept up in the global electronic dance music craze. Café Tacuba doesn't chase fads as it carefully layers rock, R&B, hip-hop and Mexican regional influences. But the band — whose other members are keyboardist Emmanuel del Real, bassist Enrique Rangel and guitar player Joselo Rangel — displays its mastery of 21st century electronic intertextuality on songs like the hauntingly poetic "Zopilotes" (Buzzards) and "Volcan." Under the expert guidance of longtime producer Gustavo Santaolalla, "Objeto" becomes an object of obscure desire, filled with tantalizing possibilities about where rock may be headed, and how, and why.

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"El Objeto Antes Llamado Disco"

Café Tacuba

(Universal)

4 stars

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