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Album Review

Camilo Lara's happy funtime Mextronica (that's Mexican music combined with of-the-moment electronic beats and synth sounds) has reached a kind of apogee on this third full-length CD. The style-hopping is more frenetic than ever, from the self-explanatory album opener "Cumbia" to the rockabilly guitars (courtesy of Café Tacuba axeman Joselo Rangel) of "Hiedra Venenosa" and the staticky, distorted beats worthy of Mr. Oizo on "Comite Culificador." There's even a full-on mariachi band — Los Carreteros del Bajio, whose booking info is included inside the digipak — trudging through a melancholy Spanish-language take on the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony," translated as "Sinfonia Agridulce." Each of Lara's three albums has featured vocals more strongly than its predecessor, and this one is almost entirely rapped and sung. The rapping (presumably mostly by Lara himself, though the credits are unclear save for pointing out a few guest appearances and a remix of "Alocatel" by Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys) is decent, but the singing is almost comically lackluster, particularly on "Sinfonia Agridulce." Most of the tracks get in and out relatively quickly and painlessly; the only exception is "Yo Digo Baila," which takes a relatively thin idea and pushes it past the five-minute mark, dragging the album down early. It's a good thing cuts like "White Stripes" (not about the Detroit duo) and "Karate Kid2" are there to keep things light and entertaining. Other artists like Kinky and Nortec Collective are plowing similar traditional-meets-modern grooves, but Lara and his Mexican Institute of Sound, which has blossomed into a full live band, seem to be having more fun than anyone on their scene right now, and that lightness of spirit translates to disc more often than not.

Biography

Born: 2006 in Mexico City, Mexico

Genre: Alternative & Rock in Spanish

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The Mexican Institute of Sound is the project name of DJ and producer Camilo Lara. A native of Mexico City, Lara began working for the Mexican arm of EMI Records while still in his teens, attracted to the industry in large part by the record-collecting habit he'd fallen into at the age of eight. In 2001, Lara left EMI to co-found the indie label Suave Records, which among other projects released the best-selling soundtrack to Alfonso Cuaron's breakthrough film, Y Tu Mama Tambien. Also around this...
Full Bio
Soy Sauce, Mexican Institute of Sound
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