MACUILXOCHITL: “Five Flower”. The Aztec god of music and dance.
It is actually another name for Xochipilli.
By Francisco H. Ciriza
While the seventh release by Mexican pop/rock superstars will do everything it’s hoped it will do on the charts-it may even do wonders for WEA’s sales as its front offices are hoping for, Revolución de Amor, is a less than spectacular effort.
Revolución is everything a Maná fan knows and loves about the band, catchy beats and memorable, however reminiscent, melodies and choruses, hertfelt love songs, and a heavy dose social and environmental opinions and pleadings.
Yet, for the long-time fan with a critical ear, it’s all too similar to other Maná records, unique in some aspects, but far too unoriginal for a band with such aparent musical inclination. Is anybody surprised at, or even excited about, the guest appearances by Carlos Santana and Ruben Blades? Granted these are two unquestionably talented and greatly respected artists, but to be fittingly trite, we’ve heard it all before.
Frontman, Fher’s voice sounds strained in places but is solid more often than not, bassist Juan Calleros has jazzed up his playing a bit, guitarist Sergio Vallin, as always, is tasteful and precise, and of course drummer Alex Gonzalez plays with his usual flashy but never gaudy style. Overall, the musical performance is outstanding and ultimately flawless.
“Por Juan” and “Justice Land and Liberty” are solid tunes, with heavy lyrical content, while “Eres Mi Religion” and “Nada Para Perder” are classic celebratory numbers quintiessentially Maná. The CD is somewhat ‘cold’ and very mechanical in places showing one of the few drawbacks of the perfection digital recording practices present, but the overall production is impressive in terms of dynamics and general sound quality and mix.
The band recently appeared on the Latino varitey show, Otro Rollo, playing a handful of tunes to an ecstatic and adoring audience and even partaking in a pretty funny skit. The band’s musical presentation was amazing and included both new and old favaorites. Therein lies the most positive news. Maná is a top-notch band. They are accomplished musicians and showmen and time has served to make them a well-seasoned, tight band. They will most likely have an overwhelmingly successful tour and, as before mentioned, quite possibly help WEA out of its economic gloom.
Perhaps those of us who have known Maná since the days when we were singing “Estoy Agotado” because we really were, can look at this CD as this: A package which they have purposely overpacked with everything that is Maná. One goal, could be the group’s desire to demonstrate it’s staure and prowess without having to compromise any if it’s richness and talent in terms of anything else, but originality.
En Breve- Maná ‘s Revolución de Amor debuted last week at the #1 spot on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart, at # 22 on its Top 200 Albums chart, #2 at Wherehouse Music , and # 5 at Tower Records. The band’s Oct 10th show at Los Angeles’ Universal Amphitheatre sold out in 20 minutes, and a second show on October llth sold out before the end of the same day. A third show has been announced.
The band comes to Chula Vista’s Coor’s Amphitheater October 4th... ...Jauguares, from el D.F., is also slated to visit the San Diego area for a fall show and will be joined by moody mod and eighties icon, Morissey. The tour has the band hopeful it can level a few more of the barriers between them and open-minded English-speaking music fans. ...Martín at Over the Border is doing an incredible job of bringing in great Latino musical artists for local concerts/club shows. Keep your eyes and ears open for his promotions... Unify the Alterlatino scene in San Diego!