Led by fearless ringleader Luz Elena Mendoza, Y La Bamba fuses tropical beats and ethereal pop with colorful accents in Mujeres. Mendoza makes a lateral move from the whimsical folk of her project’s breakthrough release, 2016’s Ojos del Sol, by nurturing her inquisitive nature to deliver a savory amalgam of earthy Latin sounds with cheerful abandon. But she approaches this new chapter in her career with a bigger purpose in mind—she wrote Mujeres for her mother, and womanhood at large, pointedly addressing the misogyny that continues to plague generations upon generations. “Somos mujeres poderosas” (“we’re powerful women”), she rallies with a chorus of women’s voices over frenetic, Carnival-esque percussion and flamenco palmas on the infectious title track. But Mendoza’s reach extends far beyond her celebratory protest. Her moods ebb and flow like wild currents—“Lightning Storms” and “Una Letra” both speak of the value and patience of love over genteel, reverb-laced ambiance, while on “Conocidos,” she fully surrenders her control over a frantic pairing of tribal psychedelia and cumbia rhythms. “Hay que mover la sangre del cuerpo” (“we have to get that blood flowing”), she urges on album closer “De Lejos,” ending the party with a bang while also staying on message.

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