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music reviewmusic reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: Kiko

Artist: Los Lobos
Genre: Rock/Pop
Release Date: May 1992

Review by LarryG
4 stars out of 4

After making brilliant, moving records of fairly simple songs in the 80's, especially How Will The Wolf Survive? and By The Light of the Moon, Los Lobos seemed to be running out of gas by the time they made The Neighborhood. The band realized it too and roughed up their sound to remarkable results on Kiko. Working with producer Mitchell Froom, they added layers of percussion and sound effects to give texture to a great bunch of songs. All the elements which made the band great in the first place are still there. David Hidalgo's pure, soaring vocals are as good as it gets and he has a strong, melodic guitar style. The band has always been able to create a sense of place, lyrically and musically. The sense that Kiko is something special is here is clear from the start. Dream In Blue expresses the sense of possibility of a dream state then Wake Up Dolores beautifully evokes ancestors' simple worship of the elements. The new sound wouldn't work so well without the quality of the songs, which wasn't as high on the last Los Lobos cd, Colossal Head. On Kiko, writers Hidalgo and drummer Louis Perez strived for simplicity, whether on the poignant When the Circus Comes or the more lighthearted Short Side of Nothing. The two rockers written by Cesar Rosas aren't as transcendental but are fun and their grittier sound nicely contrasts with the more ethereal songs.

Here's what others reviewers have to say:

"...a quirky yet emotionally gripping album...finds Los Lobos expanding their sound by finding new directions in familiar territory..." 4 Stars - Excellent - Rolling Stone 6/25/92, p.41

"...there's plenty to savor on KIKO, another charming, imperfect Los Lobos album....they've thrown plenty of wild cards into the deck, concocting a mix that can be strange and thrilling..." Musician 7/92, p.95



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