Los Lobos have never been a one-trick musical pony anymore than they are Just Another Band from East L.A., the compilation title that collects tracks the band’s releases as a package. The early output of Los Lobos added touches to traditional Mexican music with Rock’n’Roll, R&B, Rockabilly, and Blues as well as Tejano/Mariachi Folk music. Kiko arrived in 1992, almost a decade since their E.P. release, …And A Time to Dance since gave Los Lobos the ability to tour, and their mid-1980 releases, How Will the Wolf Survive? (1984) and By the Light of the Moon (1987) sealed the band’s fame on a worldwide level. While all of the 1980’s releases showcased diversity, it was Kiko that gave a glimpse into the depth of musical possibilities from Los Lobos. When main songwriters David Hidalgo (guitar) and Louie Perez (drummer) met in high school, the bonded of the more obscure talents of Ry Cooder, Randy Newman, and Fairport Convention. Kiko shows love for many styles as it exhibits the ability of Los Lobos to cross multiple musical soundscapes and never miss a step in their groove.
The Blues carves a path through the Cesar Rosas (guitar) co-write “That Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore” and colors the snaking swamp edge of “Wicked Rain” with Blue Experimental Rock. Second line drumming opens the album as “Dream in Blue” shuffles in while a ghostly big band plays tag back alley Jazz backs “Kiko and the Lavender Moon”, covers “Arizona Sky” a percussive Tex-Mex desert wind, and taps a toe for mountain music for “Two Janes”. Los Lobos stretch the boundaries of their own music as they push against the existing confines of rock and roots. Kiko delicately picks flurried notes for “Saint Behind the Glass”, kicks out street beats on “Angels with Dirty Faces”, and heads down “Whiskey Trail” on a Southern Rock road as Los Lobos shake out “Wake Up Dolores” on a snaggle of strings and rhythms and strum out a welcome “When the Circus Some to Town”.
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