September 17, 2004

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

Miami’s Power Pop Phenom Volumen Cero Return With Second CD, Estelar

By Francisco H. Ciriza

Latin power-pop has emerged as a major force under the rock en Español umbrella thanks to host of bands such as Jumbo from Monterrey, Zoe from el D.F. and most recently, Miami natives, Volumen Cero. Claiming influences from Brit-pop of the sixties and seventies to KISS and on to post punk, these groups mix heavy doses of noisy guitars and driving rhythms with fuzzy bass and layered vocals rich with harmonies and creative production to form a unique genre of modern sounds.

Composed of Luis Tamblay (vocals/bass), Marthin Chan (guitar) and Fernando Sanchez (drums) they hail from Chile, Peru and Colombia respectively. In the late nineties, the trio emerged and rose to lead Miami’s rock en Español movement. Distinguishing themselves from the their peers with their unique and intriguing sound, the group was signed to the Warner Music Latina label in 2001. Their debut, Luces, followed the next year propelling the band’s smooth sounds onto the airwaves with the help of the disc’s single “Hollywood” and its popular, satirical video starring porn-star Ron Jeremy and a blow-up love doll.

High levels of exposure continued with the band joining the Pepsi College Tour in Puerto Rico, playing stateside in support of La Ley, and appearing with Juanes and other big-name alternative Latin artists. Their creative and unique videos continued to garner attention and gained the band even more credibility for their music.

Late last month, the band released the highly anticipated bilingual album Estelar. And with that, Volumen Cero seems poised to once again take the scene by storm and continue its exploits of the mainstream market. The band was recently featured on MTV’s Advance Warning, a show on the popular cable music channel that serves to present artists “On the Verge” of stardom. The group became the first Latin Alternative act to be featured on the hit show that has also profiled such artists as Franz Ferdinand, Snow Patrol, Jason Mraz, Van Hunt.

Five out of five stars for this second offering from Miami’s Volumen Cero. It would be easy to fill a disc with meaningless meandering catchy pop, but the Floridian trio instead chose to write a set of songs that both entertain and captivate the listener. Tight arrangements and a steady, compressed sound must be credited, at least in part, to producer, Gustavo Menendez. There is a fittingly “new” physical sound captured and packaged by the group and Menendez featuring a host of sonic elements expertly blended together in layers, flowing over one another rather than attempting to overpower each other. Trippy synth, acoustic guitars, and well-conceived melodies easily navigate the mix over a solid landing of full-bodied drums and fat fuzz bass. Song structures reach fairly complex levels and the group’s knack to drop in a quick solo drum fill or bass line serve to elevate the effect of the group’s music. Highlights include “Bailarinas,” “Luces,” and “Biscayne.”

Volumen Cero is composed of Luis Tamblay (vocals/bass), Marthin Chan (guitar) and Fernando Sanchez (drums). Based out of Miami, they possess diverse Latin American backgrounds, hailing from Chile, Peru and Colombia.

Volumen Cero represents a new generation of Latinos in the U.S. This bilingual and bicultural trio offers a fresh take on New Wave inspired music. They fluidly transition through both Latino and Anglo worlds, showcasing their duality on the new album, Estelar, which features two English-Language tracks, “Biscayne” and “The Universe”- a first for the band. The rest of the album shines with nine infectious tracks, including a cover of Argentine classic “A Donde Quiera Que Voy.” The album was produced by celebrated industry veteran Gustavo Menendez.

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