Blissed Out on Latin Rock

All four members contributed various melodies and lyrics. Escuti explains that the band looked to their life experiences for inspiration. "Every song has a lot of meaning to it," he says. "'Quince Anos' is about my cousin. He died when he fell off a cliff. He was just fifteen years old." The lyrics are Escuti's; Tamblay does the painful subject justice by providing a yearning vocal, while Chan rubs his guitar strings to create a grieving sound that recalls the cries of whales. "Automatico," the album's first single (for which the band has filmed a video), is another somber number. Tamblay wrote the lyrics in memory of his grandfather, who died when his family made the difficult decision to remove him from life support. The song builds from meditative strumming to ambling guitar licks to droning feedback, as Tamblay sings in a dreamy, pensive voice.

In addition to such melancholy tracks, Andromeda features some lighthearted pop. Chan's "Gigante" is a brash little number that recounts the phoniness of the South Beach "guest list" scene. The song's sprightly guitar lines recall the work of No Doubt. The album's title track, also written by Chan, riffs on a tale from Greek mythology -- Perseus's love for Andromeda -- which Chan uses to relate a modern-day search for the ultimate spiritual high. Musically, the song references several pop sources: Chan's soaring guitar lines borrow a bit from Radiohead's "Just," while Tamblay's echoing bass could fit comfortably on several Cure songs. The singer's falsetto cries, which close the song, give James's Tim Booth a run for his money.

Fans of Orgasmic Bliss might find it difficult to recognize much of Andromeda. "If they like it, they like it," shrugs drummer Howard, referring to their old English-language devotees. "If they don't, then too bad."

Duncan Ross, former host of The Underground show on WVUM-FM (90.5), thinks Volumen Cero will easily establish a solid audience in the Latin rock market. "I told those boys they should have done that [sung in Spanish] many years ago," he says with a laugh. "If you're half Latin and half American, you sort of want to prove you can do the American side. I think that's why they were going for the English-language Cure thing, but why bother doing it in English when there are so many other bands doing it in English? They are Latin, and they are a very good band. I think they're going to do really, really well now."

Volumen Cero performs with Puerto Rico's Sol D'Menta Thursday, April 16, at South Beach Pub, 717 Washington Ave, Miami Beach; 532-7821. Doors open at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $5.

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