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Superpop Venezuela

Los Amigos Invisibles

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Album Review

Following a trio of increasingly embraced albums released by David Byrne's Luaka Bop label, Los Amigos Invisibles ventured off on their own for Superpop Venezuela, which they released independently on Gozadera Records. The album isn't a major departure from their past few — musically, at least. As always, Los Amigos Invisibles careen wildly and freely through a fairly seamless set of sprawling disco-funk jams accented by Latin dance and house. They do so with a wink and a nod, exhibiting a gleeful sense of camp that has earned them a cult following. This is why the one notable departure here is unsurprising: rather than pen an album of their own songs, they've decided to interpret a set of covers, specifically a bunch of Venezuelan pop songs from the past few decades. Hence the album title. Chances are, most of these songs, if not all of them, will be unfamiliar — assuming you're not well versed in Venezuelan pop, that is. Nonetheless, it's easy to tell that Los Amigos Invisibles had a field day interpreting these personal favorites. The campiness is apparent from the start, as the album opens with a beauty pageant anthem, "Miss Venezuela," and several performances are downright goofy. It's easy to feel party to the playfulness that just oozes from Superpop Venezuela, thanks in part to Dimitri from Paris, who produces the bulk of the album and who likewise traffics in campy music. His production, much like that of fellow disco-house mavens Masters at Work, who produced Los Amigos Invisibles' previous album, The Venezuelan Zinga Son, Vol. 1, accentuates the nonstop dance party character so integral to this group's appeal. Indeed, Superpop Venezuela plays like one long, meandering disco-funk jam en español. This no doubt may present problems for listeners with short attention spans who need individual, unique, actual songs through which to index. Rather, Superpop Venezuela is intended for uninterrupted listening, an album you play while you're partying or getting prepared to go party. It can feel relatively slight because of that, granted, as there are few instantly memorable songs, but that doesn't lessen the appeal of Superpop Venezuela, which is arguably more fun than past Amigos Invisibles albums, if less impressive for its lack of actual songwriting.

Biography

Formed: 1991 in Caracas, Venezuela

Genre: Alternative and Latin Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A performance-oriented Latin dance band from Venezuela heavily indebted to funk and disco (with a dash of acid jazz), los Amigos Invisibles made a big splash in their homeland in 1995 with their debut album, A Typical and Autoctonal Venezuelan Dance Band, which featured odd Japanese animé-style artwork. Bandmembers Julio Briceño (vocals), José Luis Pardo (guitar, songwriting), Armando Figueredo (keyboards), Mauricio Arcas (raps), José Rafael Torres (bass), and Juan Manuel Roura (drums) supported...
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Superpop Venezuela, Los Amigos Invisibles
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