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Los Auténticos Decadentes: Autenticos Decadentes y la Banda Sigue *

Album Notes

Los Auténticos Decadentes have always preferred touring over recording. Coupled with well-known changes in the music industry, this means that since the year 2000 the wait between studio albums has typically extended to three or four years, often with live audio or video releases in between. Owners of a bulletproof set list and blessed with genuinely popular, cross-generational, and cross-genre appeal, they are also no longer required to generate new hits. From this perspective, studio albums have become almost irrelevant for the band, which is rather sad considering how strong their 2000s output has been. Y la Banda Sigue ("And the Band Plays On"), their tenth studio offering overall, reflects some of these considerations, not just from its very title and lead single, but from most of its content. To begin with, what may be most attractive to longtime fans about this set is the inclusion of the DVD Vacaciones Estressantes, a documentary feature directed by Octavio Lovisolo which captures the Decadentes in their prime element, touring Latin America and sharing humorous anecdotes from their illustrious 28-year career, complete with outtakes from the album. As for Y la Banda Sigue itself, it finds the band functioning almost on automatic pilot with a record that virtually mirrors the structure of the group's last two or three albums. It all begins with a self-congratulatory opener set to circus music which narrates the history of the band, followed by various incursions in reggae, cumbia, murga, tarantella, or tango, to name but a few, all complemented by a long list of guests from all sorts of musical paths, from tango veteran and professional bohemian Cacho Castaña, to murga ensemble Agarrate Catalina, as well as members of No Te Va a Gustar, Kapanga, Los Sultanes, and Los Tulipanes -- even indie icon Daniel Melero shows up as producer on one track. The only true surprise is the presence of not one but two tracks that extol the virtues of reading and studying as opposed to the Decadentes' trademark penchant for slacking and drinking beer. Blasphemous as it may sound, this can only come as a result of many of the band's members having sons now entering their late teens and probably worrying their parents sick, an ironic reversal of roles if ever there was one. By now consummate professionals, the Decadentes are comfortably capable -- and certainly entitled -- to churn out perfectly good albums such as Y la Banda Sigue, a record in which everything works but nothing truly sparkles. If ultimately compares unfavorably with other terrific later day Decadentes albums such as Sigue Tu Camino (2003) or Irrompibles (2010) because it conspicuously lacks any of those obvious instant hits that have always been the band's bread and butter, as well as the main reason behind their longevity and universal appeal. ~ Mariano Prunes


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