Café Tacuba

Sino (Universal)

This latest effort by Mexico's supreme rock en español group will grow on you, but that's not necessarily a ringing endorsement. Café Tacuba made its name by fusing Latin American rhythms with American pop-punk sensibilities, but los tacubos have ditched their Mexican heritage in favor of shiny, shimmering music. Although Sino is probably better than 80 percent of albums released this year in any language, it's still the group's weakest effort, a black sheep in the quartet's galaxy of border-busting hits. Not only that, but the overall tone of Sino embodies denouement: retrospective lyrics (reflection, solitude, with the sassiness of the salsa-tinged "El Outsider" representing the only defiance) and music (Eighties New Wave and beat-box influences) that muddle along to an atrocious drum solo near the end — more heinous given the group made its name without a drummer. Then again, I've been playing the album all weekend, liking it more with each listen. If you're a longtime Café Tacuba fan, buy Sino to support your boys. Newcomers? You're better-suited buying 1994's Re.

 
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