El Gran Silencio


Critics of El Gran Silencio (and there are many, as the vicious invectives hurled against the Monterrey, Mexico, natives that make up the opening track of this album prove) chide the group for their obsession with the simple beats of chúntaros, the hillbillies of Mexico the nation likes to pretend don't exist. As if to fulfill these criticisms, El Gran Silencio have gone brilliantly native for this first chapter of a planned two-part effort (número dos comes out in the fall). Using a raga/rap/ranchera scaffold as a base, the quintet proceeds to unleash almost every accordion-based riff known to Gabbanelli—vallenato, conjunto norteño, cumbia and squeezebox sounds from the Colombian plains Carlos Vives doesn't even know exist—to cheesily complement the overwrought love songs, booties-in-the-air brags and smash-society lyrics that make the band as exhilarating an act as rock en español has ever produced. They even give their button brays a global outlook, especially on the chilling raï "El Espejo," a track that weeps like the Middle East with a man's realization of humanity's mortality; it has the great line "I walk through the clouds, and in dreams I fly/I see myself in the mirror, and it spits out the truth to me." ¡Super Riddim Internacional! firmly places El Gran Silencio as the preeminent band for the wretched masses—and there are many, as the beautiful superlatives gushed about them that make up the final track also prove.


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