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Los Lobos

The Town and the City (Hollywood)

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Sept. 15, 2006

ACL Music Fest Reviews

Los Lobos

The Town and the City (Hollywood)

Few, if any, American bands can match Los Lobos in terms of longevity and creativity. The Town and the City, their 13th studio effort, is more than just another album from East L.A.'s most famous quintet. Essentially, it's a suite of songs dealing with migration and the pains and perils of city living. Done in mostly dark hues matched to thoughtful lyrics chiefly composed by the band's multi-instrumentalist Louie Perez, this is a disc that reveals itself only after several listens. There are echoes of their previous work, especially in the more adventurous tracks like "The Valley" and "The City," whose slinky rhythms and near psychedelic musical beds recall those of Kiko or on "The Road to Gila Bend," which brings to mind their early days of roots-rock survival. Cesar Rosas delivers his usual Latin flair with the deceptively sly "Chuco's Cumbia." His Santana-like "No Puedo Mas" features a near-reggae feel. Yet The Town and the City is no repeat. It's Los Lobos confronting who we are today, in the only way they're capable, and with new sounds, fresh rhythms, and a brooding manner that's sure to get under your skin. (Saturday, 4:30pm, AMD stage)

***.5

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