The Iguanas,
Plastic Silver 9 Volt Heart
(Yep Roc, 2003)

The Iguanas are back with their fifth album, Plastic Silver 9 Volt Heart. They are a much less serious version of Los Lobos's Hispanic-American sound. Unlike their more successful and famous counterparts, there are no politics or social commentary anywhere in the Iguanas' music. They are much more of a party band than the Lobos can ever possibly be.

However this CD doesn't always rock hard like the usual party disc. Instead, for most of the album, they sound like a low-key bar band with an irreverent attitude. They do cut loose on a few tracks such as "Flame On," which features their very cool trademark dual saxophone attack with both Joe Cabral and Rene Coman playing in the lower registers. This is a unique sound that continues to give the Iguanas their distinctive flavor. "Zacatecas" and "I Dig You" follow in the same vein. "The Liquor Dance" doesn't fully take off like the other three, but the beat is such that I can visualize a bar room full of people with their inhibitions hidden swaying to its beat.

There are only three songs with printed lyrics in the liner notes and they are for the songs sung in Spanish: "Machete Y Maiz," "Abandando" and "Un Avion." All are printed in both Spanish and English. I thank the band for that because I would be lost without them. But printed lyrics aren't always necessary for a band of their ilk because if you are looking for musical poetry you won't get it here. However, if you want a good time you may quickly latch onto the Iguanas, a band that is even better live than in the studio.

- Rambles
written by Charlie Ricci
published 31 January 2004

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