Rosa Venus

by: Fobia

Mexican rock band Fobia have been around since 1987, and although there have been various greatest-hits collections and a live album in the ten-year span since 1996's Amor Chiquito, the break has given fans plenty of time to listen to other things. Luckily, Fobia's latest record, Rosa Venus, picks up just where they left off, keeping the band's quirky new wave-ish rock intact while still sounding modern and fresh. Songwriter Paco Huidobro is great at making simple, catchy melodies that don't have to rely on musical affectation to make them stick, and they're interesting and diverse enough to not be repetitive (in fact, it's more the album that stays in your head as opposed to individual tracks, though it is going to take a lot to stop humming "No Soy un Buen Perdedor" aloud) and singer Leonardo de Lozanne has a voice that emotes well without sounding too dramatic. Musically, though Fobia is firmly grounded in Latin rock, the band experiments within that genre, moving from the pure pop of "No Eres Yo" to the simple modern rock of "Una Vida Sencilla," to the hard-driving Texas country-inspired "1 Camino y un Camión," all while incorporating the '80s synthesizer references they've always used and which, at this point, help to define their sound. Their success at such versatility is much in part thanks to drummer Jay de la Cueva, who moves effortlessly between styles, and even when playing straightforward rock rhythms, embellishes them just enough to keep things interesting. The band's longevity and experience playing together shows in Rosa Venus: it's a very solid musical effort, taking slight risks when necessary, but generally sticking to the reverby guitar, funky keyboard, and bass that have kept them going for so long. In fact, the instrumentals, "Rosa Venus" and "Sembrando Estrellas" are two of the best tracks on the album. Whether or not you can understand Spanish, Rosa Venus is a good and very listenable record, with unpretentious yet quirky songs, a nice beat, and a whole lot of fun music. ~ Marisa Brown

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