by: Los Enanitos Verdes

This Argentine rock quartet likes to wander around inside the human soul, and the group's got some fine traveling tales to offer on NECTAR. Twangy, Clapton-esque blues power meets the pop romanticism of Mana on the windswept reaches of the Andes in these vivid songs of companionship and isolation, loves gone good and bad, and distances of every sort. And as if an homage to Mexico's Jose Alfredo Jimenez, there are two tequila songs. "Cordillera" juicily blends the Incan sounds of pan flutes and the mandolin-like charango with Van Halen shredding and a groovy, edgy beat as vocalist/bassist Marciano Cantero sings of mountains and freedom. Bittersweet piano and Hammond organ set the stage for "Un Futuro Mejor," a bluesy call for amorous renewal with rich backing harmonies that nod in the direction of the Beatles and perhaps Queen. The boys later serve up a plateful of droll irony on "Ay! Dolores." What appears to be an innocent, if despondent, little ranchera tune soon turns from accordion cheer to punk-rock mariachi madness.

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