Nuclear Valdez

It seems ages since Miami's Nuclear Valdez stole the limelight with its 1989 single "Summer," only to fade out of the national attention that promised to break the band into bigger and better things. But after the sophomore 1991 Dream Another Dream, the band lost some of the momentum built by its I Am I debut and went on indefinite hiatus.

That is, until this year's reformation. With the release of its latest, and long-awaited, In a Minute All Could Change, the Nukes return to the glory of earlier years, showing the musical hunger of a young band now enriched with experience. This collection of roots-rock gems opens with "Wonderland," a song that shakes off the cobwebs that accumulated during the dormant years and returns to the band's trademark soaring choruses and hook-filled pop anthems. Throughout the album, vocalist Fro Sosa dishes out grit and bellows warm falsettos in the same breath, while guitarist Dan Ceratelli lays down juicy blues licks and articulate guitar solos. Remember those?

The title track builds from a bluesy opening into a bloom of melodies and an uptempo drum attack, while a gritty guitar hook paves the way for the musically airy, lyrically dejected "Remember" ("So as I face every new day/In the arms of your memory/Do you also remember me?"). The band passes through darkened corridors on the slow-footed "Someone to Believe In," sails on surf-rock twangs with "Only Yesterday," and translates its Rock en Ingles to Spanish versions of "Save Me" and the folksy "Goodbye Mary" (wouldn't it be Maria in this case?).

It's tough to tell what would have happened if Nuclear Valdez's streak had run a little longer the first time around; whether the group would have become a household name, or the musical well would have run dry or been tainted. In any case Nuclear Valdez doesn't just throw its hat back into the ring with In a Minute All Could Change: The band reintroduces itself with a bold statement.

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Omar Perez