Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Banda El Recodo de Cruz Lizárraga – Mi Vicio Más Grande

Est. 1938…


Josh Langhoff: The Sinaloan institution Banda El Recodo is closing in on 80 years old, and they haven’t stayed at the forefront of their genre all those years by happy accident. Bandleader Alfonso Lizárraga has tailored Recodo’s recent singles with sartorial precision, filling gaps in the regional Mexican playlist. In 2009 he adapted “Dime Que Me Quieres” from a ballad into a cumbia because there were no romantic cumbias on the radio. Four years later Recodo went the opposite direction, plugging “Vas a Llorar Por Mi” into the spot earmarked for “melodramatic stop-start ballads about death.” (You didn’t know you wanted that, did you? RECODO DID.) Now the team returns with their liveliest song in years, a furious minor-key chops killer about living the good life. The theme is nothing new, but the furious minor-keyness picks up where spinoff band Recoditos left off two years ago with “Mi Último Deseo.” Recodo races through that two-minute slot with thicker brass and, in Geovanni Mondragón, a less personable singer, though I do admire his trembling vibrato in the chorus, seconds before his bandmates wallop him with a giant hemiola.

Rebecca A. Gowns: Effusive horns — nay, effervescent — bubble over and spill out of this ode to joy. The lyrics are confident, evocative, soul-stirring; this could be the “My Way” of 21st century banda.

David Sheffieck: A little too manic — like maybe just one or two of those synth tracks could be cut, or at least a little less shrill? — but the vocal keeps the track balanced, and the hook’s strong enough to make up for overindulgence elsewhere.

Jonathan Bogart: If there’s anything that punk and jungle have taught us, it’s that velocity can be its own reward.

Alfred Soto: It’s my fault that the mix sounds crowded to my ears: horns as shrill as Fairlight blasts, tinny snare drum, vocals that don’t split the difference.

Thomas Inskeep: A joyous banda track, heavy on the brass, where the sousaphone works as the bassline while Banda el Recodo’s (two) singers remind us that being happy is their greatest vice — and who can argue with that, really?

Jonathan Bradley: Hectic and just a bit pushy, “Mi Vicio Más Grande” stuffs a lot into its two minutes. The joie de vivre is a desperate one, with the sense that it could all end at any moment. Soon enough, it does.

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