Los Rabanes All Star
I’ve been hearing for a while about the musical renaissance going on in Latin America these days, but I’ve been slow to come by any firsthand evidence of it. Panama’s Los Rabanes have given me all the evidence I need. I’ve always been amazed at how bands from outside the United States can make popular music sound so fresh again. There’s nothing incredibly out of the ordinary about the styles of music that Los Rabanes play, but what’s quite extraordinary is how effortlessly they synthesize these styles into a style all their own.
Los Rabanes dish out an incredible blend of punk, ska, reggae, metal, calypso, and salsa. Their songs often contain abrupt but surprisingly smooth shifts in style. “Agonia por los 60’s” features wild juggling of upbeat, Ramones-style punk, salsa-flavored ska, and thrashy metal riffs. My personal favorite, the exuberant “Oh! Mi Raquel,” mixes frenetic, thrashy punk with salsa-style horns that answer the vocals and punctuate the groove. This CD by a group that comes from a country with no rock and roll tradition that I’ve ever heard of should bring much joy to its listeners, and it may even blow a few minds.