July 18, 2003

MACUILXOCHITL: Five Flower”, the Aztec god of music and dance

Jumbo

Teleparque

BMG Mexico

***** (five out of five stars)

The band’s third release on BMG is another major step forward for the quintet from Monterrey, Mexico. The power-pop, rock heavy sound is full and mature sounding. Listening to the group’s previous efforts, Restaurant and D.D. Y Ponle Play individually does not give one the sense that either presents much room for improvement, but a listen to Teleparque provides one with a sense that this group has honed its skills to a high level of achievement.

Carefully orchestrated arrangements provide blasts of guitar and more guitars provide walls to compliment foundations of dreamy layered vocals. Meshed with the perfectly relentless rhythms and thick, pounding yet unassuming bass that have always driven the band, Jumbo has gone from the equivalent of excitable teens to dependable twenty-somethings.

They have constructed a powerful sound that is full of sweet and tasteful vocals with the guts necessary to overtake songs when necessary yet light and airy enough to carry them away floating to a higher level of sonic consciousness. “Repetition,” the band’s first single and video from the disc is the perfect example of this reviews bragging. It encompasses all of the above and more: sweet sixties electric piano solo (like the Doors or any of their contemporaries), seventies drive and pop sensibility (like Cheap Trick or any of their predecessors, The Move or Arthur Lee’s Love). In fact, if Robin Zander could sing in perfect Spanish, “Yeah” would easily fit in with the tracks on the their latest disc, Special One.

Castillo’s lyrics continue in to be profound yet accessible. Rhyming schemes abound and their scaffolds of meaning allow for them to be interpreted on a variety of levels thus allowing listeners an amazing range of experiences. To be able to attain further heights of awareness via Jumbo’s vehicle is a testament to the band’s high level of complexity.

In addition, Castillo’s American education experiences continue to pay off as his English lyrics and more so his mixing of the two languages (English and Spanish) in a most clever and literate manner not only serves to add to the bands wide ranging talents but also bolsters the argument in favor of the strength of Bilingualism. Show me any Monolingual English lyricist and I’l bet any amount of anything he or she can more than double his/her worth by presenting a message in two languages and unlimited perspectives…unfortunately, this argument however true and noteworthy will fly only too high over the lowly heads of our single-minded mono-toungued brethren, forever stuck in monolandia…poor things will never understand the beauty of Teleparque.

Francisco H. Ciriza

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