Hurple Hoopla

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Los Lobos: Kiko

Very few albums turn me from an indifferent listener to a fanatic fan of any artist. This, however, is one of those.

Back in the day, when I used to live in Nashville, Tennessee, I lived near a record store. In fact, it was the one in which fellow-blogger Michael worked. When this album was released the store received multiple promotional copies. As a "reward" for the store's most faithful customers, the manager decided to give the multitude of promotional copies to those patrons. Needless to say, I was one of those patrons. (Otherwise, I wouldn't waste time telling the story, now, would I?)

I knew of Los Lobos from their minor 80's hit "Shakin' Shakin' Shakes," and their work on the soundtrack to La Bamba but never thought of them as more than just a fun little tex-mex rock 'n' roll outfit. How wrong I had been.

From the first note of the first song, I fell in absolute head-over-heels love with this album, and this band. Combining a love of Mexican culture, traditional Mariachi music, and flat-out kick-ass rock 'n' roll with amazing musicianship and fantastic songwriting, this band is one of this country's undiscovered treasures. And this album is their undeniable masterpiece. This is the pinnacle of everything this band has ever attempted. Every influence and every ounce of instrumental ability are combined with the absolute perfect set of songs, all engineered with absolute precision. The album is progressive while still being traditional, pure rock 'n' roll while still retaining a folksy sheen, and completely modern while still touching eternal themes. Perhaps, I seem to be overdoing it with the accolades, but how can I exaggerate perfection?

Just listen to "That Train Don't Stop Here," "Wicked Rain," "Kiko and The Lavender Moon," or "Peace" to hear a band at the absolute peak of their ability. Never before and never after have the Lobos boys' abilities, talents and material meshed so perfectly into such a gorgeous piece of art.

This band in general, and this album in particular are criminally overlooked by the general public.

Buy this album, and you too can be one cool cat.


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