By Reed Fischer
By Anna Gulbrandsen
By Jeff Gage
By Stacy Schwartz
By Natalie Gallagher
By Erik Thompson
By Jeff Gage
By Loren Green
IN 1998, MEXICAN duo Plastilina Mosh's Aquamosh revealed itself as a being with the sort of spliced, hodgepodge anatomy already familiar to fans of Beck or the Beasties. The album's college-rock musculature was controlled by a hip-hop-derived nervous system, attached to occasional jazz/lounge ligaments, with a tongue lodged permanently in cheek. But where our gringo stars have sucked all of the world's styles unto themselves with noble-ass oblige, Aquamosh reflected a warped, gaudy version of the cultural imperialism back on itself. Not that the duo would deign to interpret their project so stodgily: Rock, hip hop, disco, punk, and metal were sloshed together with the free-rein lunacy of those wacky Univision shows whose punch lines remain impenetrable to us Norteño squares.
Juan Manuel finds P-Mosh's Alejandro Rosso and Jonas still funky, still cheeky, but differently inclined than two years ago. There's nothing quite as loud as Aquamosh's mud-bogged "Monster Truck," but exercises in focused jazzy smoothness like "Graceland" retain a connection with lounge/porn-soundtrack roots. Disco and funk are more represented this time in the band's rock/Latin/dance/kitchen-sink fusion, but emerge more as tributes than as goofy-ass throwbacks. Opener "Nordic Laser" provides some of Plastilina Mosh's familiar musical mugging, grafting a Bob Seger-style piano job onto the unsure footing of drums from a fake "Tomorrow Never Knows" demo version.
Of course, lest the group stray too far into classic-rock territory "Bassass (International Stereo)" crashes right into the middle of things, making damn sure that aggressive, big-bootied house gets its due. Rather than settle strictly for variations of Latin funk mixed in with boyish mischief, the men of P-Mosh play the field without coming off as flaky. Even the trip-to-the-petting-zoo jokiness of "Good Bye Happy Farm" (complete with bleats and whinnies) saunters by with more of a Chico Marx charm than a Jerry Lewis pratfall. Moves like these show that our friends to the south may be growing older, but they'll still jump around in a bumblebee suit and Chuck Taylors.
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