Aterciopelados brings a new, and resonant, maturity to its latest release.
Aterciopelados brings a new, and resonant, maturity to its latest release. (Nacional Records)
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008



Colombian alt-rockers Aterciopelados audaciously and convincingly reinvent themselves like no one's business. On their seventh LP, "Rio," the garage punks turned trip-hopsters turned folk-rock fusionistas musically sound like an amalgam of themselves. Weepy surf guitars, ethereal spacy electronica, the Andean charango (a 10-string mandolin made from an armadillo shell), rain sticks and even the trickling sounds of the Bogota River make cameos.

Lyrically, though, they've never sounded more responsible -- parenthood tends to do that. They champion immigrants, the environment and motherhood. It's not that firecracker lyricist Andrea Echeverri -- expecting her second child -- has newly found indignation. She's always been ornery. But this time, her spunkiness is cool, contemplative, mature and poetic, as well as unabashedly confrontational.

In song, Echeverri once threatened to slice an unfaithful lover's face with a razor and kill his mother. Now, she sarcastically howls on the feisty tune "Bandera": "Who are you? Where were you born? You are the conquered, not a conquistador. You're not allowed to dream of a better life." Only in Spanish, it's full of alliteration and rhyme.

On the title track, she sings: "The river waters come running, singing through the city -- dreaming of being cleaner, clearer." And on "Treboles," she declares, "God bless our wombs, bring purity to our minds" -- this from someone who once sang, "I won't ruin my silhouette with no baby."

While this album can be enjoyable without knowing a lick of Spanish, it's a good inducement to brush up on your español. ¿Dónde está el diccionario?

-- Mario Iván Oña

DOWNLOAD THESE:"Bandera," "Agüita," "Treboles"

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