Kinky

Atlas (Sonic 360/Nettwerk America)

The release of Kinky's sophomore album, Atlas, perpetuates Mexico's domination over the rest of the Latin American rock scene. It reflects the band's determined search for an organic dance rock sound that feels way more vivid than the original set of loops, samples, and prerecorded songs it presented on its 2001 self-titled debut. Yet bilingual lyrics again play a crucial role in its crossover to a Western audience. The optimistic first single, "Presidente," is a perfect example: "De qué color es nuestro presidente?/Verde, rojo, blanco es el presente/You paint everything in color/Instead of black and white," sings Gil Cerezo, who wonders what color defines President Vicente Fox. He's breaking down the three colors in the Mexican flag while wondering which would best suit the leader ("Is he Green/Greedy?/Red/Pro-war?/Or White/Pacifist?").

Conceived on an isolated ranch in Mexico and completed in Los Angeles, Atlas unveils several exciting gems. John McCrea, who leads the Sacramento altrock band Cake and toured with Kinky last year, is one of their believers. McCrea sings a Colombian cumbia called "The Headphonist" with Cerezo, one of the album's highlights. Equally remarkable is "Snapshot," rooted in an old Mexican style known as quebradita that's very popular on both sides of the border. The rest goes easily with the flow.

 
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