Recording information: Andaluz Records, Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico.
Arranger: Calibre 50.
While success on the Mexican Songs and Latin Albums charts has been a relative constant for Calibre 50 since 2011, the number one slot on the latter eluded them until the release of 2015's Historia de la Calle. It debuted on top and remained in the Top 20 for over 21 weeks. In the aftermath, the Sinaloense group won numerous awards and expanded their international profile by touring all over Latin America. But that kind of success also presented a quandary: How do you follow it up?
Calibre 50's answer is Desde el Rancho, a back-to-the-roots set produced by Jesus Tirado. It delivers 14 tracks that run the gamut from cumbias and rancheras to corridos and polkas. Its first pre-release single, "Amor del Bueno," written by Armando Ramos, Omar Tarazón, and Karenia Cervantes, offers a taste of the band's sweet-side traditionalism, with Edén Muñoz offering an aching lead vocal surrounded by canny interplay between his accordion and guitar, and held down by that infectious tuba bassline. (The track eventually topped the Mexican Songs chart.) Other highlights include the sprightly opener "Corte a Flor," which features a killer Muñoz accordion solo. "Claro Que Te Amo" is a wonderful rural cumbia whose rhythm is unshakeable; "Deja de Joder" shows the band at their sleazy, humorous best, and the midtempo norteño "¿Por Qué Es Tan Cruel el Amor?" and the revisionist yet innovative ballad "Se Me Hizo Fácil" are also excellent. The set closes in furious tempo on the novelty polka "La Bola." Calibre 50 seem to be introducing their new fans to their root sounds while re-acquainting fans with them, and it works most of the time. No matter their motivation, Desde el Rancho is a fine album. ~ Thom Jurek