15 Songs, 57 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s the rare rock outfit that can capture the exhilaration of sonic expedition within the confines of pop-music aesthetics. The ones that have done so — whether the Beatles and Beach Boys, or Wilco and Radiohead — have been able to strike a precarious balance between accessibility and experimentation by discovering fresh paths to familiar places. Perhaps if Café Tacuba sang in English, they would be more universally added to the pantheon, but there’s no doubt that this astounding Mexican band is at the vanguard of 21st-century pop music. On Sino, their sixth full studio album, Tacuba gleefully mashes (and delicately links) sounds and styles from across the rock spectrum. At nearly eight minutes, “Volver a Comenzar” blends infectious dance-pop rhythms with intricate prog-rock embroidery. The anthemic “53100” combines forceful guitars with a bit of knob-twirling craftiness, while the quirky, keyboard-driven funk of “El Outsider” finds them at their most playful. The closing “Gracias” begins with tender acoustic strumming before breaking into a lengthy instrumental ride-out (complete with drum solo) that calls to mind ‘60s-vintage Who. Nearly every track holds sonic treasures to unearth, and even a pedestrian, high-school-level understanding of Spanish will allow glimpses of the band’s curious psyche and bizarre sense of humor.

EDITORS’ NOTES

It’s the rare rock outfit that can capture the exhilaration of sonic expedition within the confines of pop-music aesthetics. The ones that have done so — whether the Beatles and Beach Boys, or Wilco and Radiohead — have been able to strike a precarious balance between accessibility and experimentation by discovering fresh paths to familiar places. Perhaps if Café Tacuba sang in English, they would be more universally added to the pantheon, but there’s no doubt that this astounding Mexican band is at the vanguard of 21st-century pop music. On Sino, their sixth full studio album, Tacuba gleefully mashes (and delicately links) sounds and styles from across the rock spectrum. At nearly eight minutes, “Volver a Comenzar” blends infectious dance-pop rhythms with intricate prog-rock embroidery. The anthemic “53100” combines forceful guitars with a bit of knob-twirling craftiness, while the quirky, keyboard-driven funk of “El Outsider” finds them at their most playful. The closing “Gracias” begins with tender acoustic strumming before breaking into a lengthy instrumental ride-out (complete with drum solo) that calls to mind ‘60s-vintage Who. Nearly every track holds sonic treasures to unearth, and even a pedestrian, high-school-level understanding of Spanish will allow glimpses of the band’s curious psyche and bizarre sense of humor.

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