Café Tacuba

This latest effort by Mexico's supreme "rock en español" group will grow on you, but that's not necessarily a ringing endorsement. Café Tacuba made their name by fusing Latin American rhythms with American pop-punk sensibilities, but los tacubos have ditched their Mexican heritage in favor of shiny, shimmering music. While Sino is probably better than 80 percent of albums that will be released this year in any language, it's still the group's weakest effort, a black sheep in the quartet's galaxy of border-busting hits. Not only that, but the overall tone of Sino embodies denouement: retrospective lyrics (reflection, solitude, with the sassiness of the salsa-tinged "El Outsider" representing the only defiance) and music (1980s new-wave and beat-box influences) that muddle along to an atrocious drum solo near the end—more heinous given the group made their name without a drummer. Then again, I've been playing the album all weekend, liking it more with each listen. If you're a longtime Café Tacuba fan, buy Sino to support your boys. Newcomers? You're better-suited buying 1994's Re.


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