Published Jun 16, 2014Bogota-based maverick Eblis Alvarez proudly flies his freak flag high with the Meridian Brothers' fourth offering, Salvadora Robot. 2012's Deseperanza was Alvarez's quirkily surreal take on salsa and brought the Meridian Brothers to the attention of an international audience. Salvadora Robot goes deeper with Dominican merengue, reggaeton and cumbia, each style infused with Alvarez's endearing weirdness.
Once again, Alvarez plays all of the instruments, and opener "Somos los Residentes" sets the stage with percolating percussion: a zany synth line that wouldn't be out of place in a futuristic Looney Tunes short and an insistent vocal that descends into psychotic laughter before the whole thing falls gleefully apart. "De mi caballo, como su carne" is a jittery merengue, while "Un Principe miserable y malvado" tackles tropical funk with an infectious off-kilter melody.
"Baile ultimo-del preso que va a la silla electrica por ofensa a la moral colombiana" is the album's best cut, a Zappa-esque critique of cultural policing from a man who's facing the electric chair because he was dancing to too much reggaeton, a style not accepted in Colombia. Ultimately, Salvadora Robot may be a bit too idiosyncratic, but it's a taste well worth acquiring. (Soundway)