Maneja Beto Accidentes de Latitud Y Longitud

One might characterise this record as "Tex Mex Tropicalia” — it’s earthy, poppy, experimental, rockin’ and traditional at the same time. The title of the album suggests that they’ve all ended up in Austin, TX by accident, and they could all be living vastly different lives a few degrees of latitude to the south. Maneja Beto’s second album furthers the sound of their first, coming up with more intriguing and successful blends of their influences. The disc opens with a Ministry-like distorted handclap fading into a waltz time rocker. Other tunes go through three or four different changes within a standard pop song length. New wave-y keys appear everywhere on this disc, and there are plenty of dance rock jams that nonetheless still incorporate traditional accordions, woodblocks and other accents. Their range of Latin influences goes right through Mexico and Central America, and includes a few Colombian cumbias — a form that seems to be making some inroads into rock rhythms throughout the Southwest U.S. They aren’t heavy on Caribbean Latin rhythms, though, and the drum kit keeps the sound firmly rock-oriented. Nevertheless, Mexican polkas and rancheros do well with a drum kit behind them, and Maneja Beto have come up with some very original approaches. Even with the occasionally studio-treated effect in the mix, it sounds like they’d be able to pull this off live without too much trouble. I’ll stay on the lookout. (Independent)