By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
Today's pop scene would be a much poorer place without the Nineties rock en español explosion that brought bands like Aterciopelados, Maldita Vencidad, Café Tacuba, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, and Todos Tus Muertos to American audiences. It was a movement that has helped spawn a whole new musical culture that goes way beyond the simple appreciation of so-called "world music."
And this is only confirmed when spinning Todos Tus Muertos' Greatest Hits, a compilation of early classics from this Argentine band formed in the mid-Eighties that mixes roots reggae, punk, and even mangue beat into one package. "Rasta Vive," for example, showcases the band members' willingness to take reggae on their own terms, adding Indian tablas and other sonic elements to create something both new and familiar. Their trademark sense of humor comes out in the medley "Sé Que No/Requebra," which begins with a rock vibe and quickly develops into a playful cover of a popular tune originally recorded by Brazilian axé group Ara Ketu. More serious topics appear on "Mandela" and "No Más Apartheid," two tunes aimed at the uncertain situation in South Africa at the time. Other moments worth checking out are "Lehenbiziko Bala," the disc's most powerful rocker, and "Guantanamera/Hijo Nuestro," in which the band reworks the traditional Cuban tune to pay tribute to the popular Nicaraguan revolutionary hero Augusto Sandino.
Despite the absence of liner notes, which would be helpful to explain the band's trajectory and where the original tracks come from, this CD presents a clear picture of the group's musical tendencies. It's a satisfactory piece of work both for longtime fans and newbies.