Arts Desk

Review: Los Fabulosos Cadillac’s La Luz Del Ritmo

La Luz Del Ritmo
Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
Nacional Records

What's life like without breathing? It's a metaphor Latin rock legends Los Fabulosos Cadillacs have used in song to describe lost love. It's also a feeling familiar to LFC's fans, who've been holding their collective breath for nearly a decade waiting for a new album from the group.

The band literally introduced ska to a new generation of rockers in their native Argentina in the late 1980s, and became Latin American stars following 1995's "Matador," which went on to become MTV Latinoamérica's No. 2 song of all-timeright behind Michael Jackson's "Thriller." But just as their ascent to international fame started to take shape, Fabulosos went their separate ways. and never so much as hinted at a reunion.

But a few months ago, fans began to see the light, or, more specifically, "La Luz del Ritmo," when the new single leaked online and the imminent global reunion tour, including four U.S. stops, became official. While the album is more like an EPfive new tracks combined with two covers and a few remixesit does provide a glimpse into the Fabulosos' work in the new millennium. Rather than try something completely new, LFC is sticking to their time-tested formula of a head-bopping, crowd-pleasing fusion of ska, rock, tropical sounds, punk, reggae and traditional Latin rhythms.

The lead single ("Luz") could easily be added to any of their ska-rific albums of the '90s, with its infectious percussion, tropical groove, and an addictive chant-like hook: "Vivir de Amor! La Luz del Ritmo" (Live for love! The Light of Rhythm).

The other new singles are solid, and a bit mellower. "Flores" (Flowers) is a punky-rock song, "Nosotros Egoistas" (We Selfish) has bassist Sr. Flavio's ska touch all over it, and in "Hoy" (Today), lead singer Vincentico's soulful vocal chops shine in the jazzy track.

But the true selling point of the album comes in the remastering of Fabulosos classics and covers. Among the winners are a new cumbia version of "Padre Nuestro" (Our Father); a fantastic New Orleans funeral procession-inspired, horn-infused mix of "Condenaditos" (Little Damned); and a quality rapid-fire Spanish-language cover of The Clash's "Should I Stay Or Should I Go."

For Fabulosos fans, the album is a gratifying new EP, and for potential new fans of the Latin rock genre, it should serve as a primer for the LFC's '90s classics.

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