By Jim Schutze
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Brothers Raul and Rene Espinosa have been involved in the Dallas music scene since the mid-'90s, first as key members of the post-punk band Swivel, then running an indie label (111 Records) and now leading Mahteo, a group unashamed of championing all that was/is new wave.
From the first notes of Republic, it's not hard to hear those well-worn influences: Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, and The Cure. "You're the target worth lying for," sings Rene nonchalantly as Raul and bassist Mike Cardenas form a rigidly '80s rhythm behind him. From "Montreal" to "New Love," there's nigh a new wave headstone left unturned as the Espinosas lovingly survey a decade remembered most for skinny ties and tight-fitting pants. Serving both as a tribute and tongue-in-cheek statement of purpose, The NuWave Republic has its charm.
Supposedly, these songs were to mix together the influences of the brother's Spanish roots with relatively more modern new wave sheen. If that's the case, Love and Rockets and Sisters of Mercy must be big in Monterrey. Although clearly derivative, there certainly aren't many bands investigating this territory these days, and Mahteo does a credible job of working in those cheesy keyboard flourishes.
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