Argentina: a land of ruin. Venezuela: ready to blow up in a coup. Uruguay: financial meltdown. South America is even more fucked-up than usual nowadays, and that's saying something. So how has Enanitos Verdes decided to save this cursed continent on their latest album, Amores Lejanos (Far-Away Loves)? They will sing about love. From any other band, it's an egg-chuck-worthy concept. But this is Enanitos, one of the most delightfully subversive groups of the past 20 years. Once you finish appreciating their ultrapoppy sound and Neruda-worthy prose, you're left with them proclaiming humanity a sea of lost souls—in the most hummable way, of course. In track after track, the trio lays out a roster of long-ago loves that left them and the homeland for another life far away, whether to the Middle East (the raga-esque "Del Cairo a Paris"), France ("Francés Limón") or death ("Silencio Infinito"). While intensely personal, the songs on Amores Lejanos are also a metaphor for the reality their home continent is facing, especially in "La Mujer Maravilla," the tale of a paranoid mother reduced to mugging strangers so she can feed her children. It also happens to be their most rollicking number since the days of Guerra Gaucha, so expect fans to gobble this song up without ever realizing that Enanitos is condemning their lifestyle—just like always.
ENANITOS VERDES PERFORM WITH ENRIQUE BUNBURY AT THE GROVE AT ANAHEIM, 2200 E. KATELLA AVE., ANAHEIM, (714) 712-2700. SAT., 9 P.M. $35. ALL AGES.