Review: ‘Fugatives of Pleasure and Pasajeros’ EP by Monte Negro

Monte Negro is a band whose sound is as diverse and cross cultural as the band members themselves. Having already successfully fused rock, reggae and Latin together previously, the band stuck with the same winning formula in terms of sound. While many follow up efforts from great bands fall short, Fugitives Of Pleasure and Pasajeros by Monte Negro, picks up where I expected them to.

After an impressive full length debut album, 2008’s Cicatrix, I feared a drop off in quality with their next release.  It happens to too many good bands. They will try to go in a different direction in fear of being typecast or not being labeled as “artists”, often leading an album receiving harsh critical dissatisfaction. Fear not Monte Negro fans. Fugitives Of Pleasures and Pasajeros does not disappoint.

This time around, their winning formula works better in Spanish. Unlike previous efforts, their English tracks fall short on Fugitives Of Pleasures and Pasajeros. “The Message” lacks punch or anything to really hook you in. After listening to it, I felt like I was listening to a song that was only three fourths completed. I can’t pinpoint what was missing, but something is definitely not there.

With that being said, the other tracks were exceptional to say the least. No strangers to cover songs on their albums, Monte Negro took on the Caifanes classic “La Negra Tomasa”. They put a little edge to it, with bluesy guitar feedback and sort of this urban drum beat backing it. The original, for those of us old enough to remember, had a South American style cumbia beat to it. Even if you aren’t familiar with the Caifanes classic, and shame on you if that’s the case, then you will still enjoy the track.

“Loco Por Tu Amor”, the first single off the EP, is about love, despair, and heartbreak set to an auto-tuned chorus. I hate-hate-hate auto-tune most of the time, but it works this time for Monte Negro.  What really makes the song is the arrangement. The darker vibe is created by some guitar feedback at certain breaks that flow sequentially with the appropriate lyrics. It is upbeat when needed and dark when the song calls for despair. Vocalist Kinski Gallo has always been one to convey any emotion a song throws at him. He does it again with the upbeat Spanish language song “Mundo” and the Spanglish song “Pasajeros”. Like Kinski’s vocals, Fugitives Of Pleasures and Pasajeros is impressive.

For those new to Monte Negor or haven’t had the chance to hear anything off Fugatives Of Pleasure and Pasajeros yet, check out the video for “Loco Por Tu Amor (Tarde or Temprano Se Paga)”

Ian Morales

Editor in Chief

Ian is a product of Round Rock High School and St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. He is an alumnus of the National Hispanic Institute and learned to dance at a young age with the Round Rock Ballet Folklórico. Ian also serves as the Editor-in-Chief for Austin Vida’s sister site, Red River Noise.

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