When bands that represent a certain country perform in the United States, it's not unusual for expats to turn out, waving the flags of their shared homeland.
That probably doesn't happen, however, when Contramano performs such songs as "I'm Crying for You Argentina." It would be tough to maintain patriotic fervor when singer-guitarist (and electric cellist) Pablo Cubarle is delivering such lines as "No politicians, no economy / No money, of course" and "I don't care what happens to you."
Argentina has been called the most European of South American countries, which is reflected in Contramano's self-titled debut. Although Cubarle sometimes sings in Spanish -- and "I'm Crying for You Argentina" is set to a tango rhythm -- the band shows little interest in the north-south hybrid known as "rock en Espanol." The album begins with the Brooklyn-based trio's self-titled theme song, which owes more to the Kinks than to Astor Piazzolla. "I don't fit anywhere," insists Cubarle as the tune accelerates.
Yet he and his colleagues -- Argentine bassist Martin Balik and Spanish-born drummer Eugeni Camacho -- deftly fit together diverse musical parts.
Contramano's assault on Argentina's "no future" plight sounds like the start of an auspicious career in exile.
-- Mark Jenkins
Appearing Sunday at the Velvet Lounge.