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World Music CD Reviews North American

LOS MOCOSOS

By Maximo Zealdon
Published January 20, 2006

American Us
Six Degrees

Fusion has been the driving force behind Latin rock in the U.S. ever since the Santana Blues Band was still playing small clubs in San Francisco’s Mission District. Fast-forward 40 years and there’s Los Mocosos, the latest Bay Area Spanglish rock band to successfully mix merengue, salsa, R&B funk, Latin jazz, reggae, and hip-hop. Far from being an exotic novelty, Los Mocosos (which translates as “ the mischievous kids”) are simply a reflection of their multicultural upbringing. Their latest album, American Us, is an enjoyable cultural commentary disguised as a dance record. The opening track, “Bandolera Era,” is a high-energy merengue piece that will get you up and freakin’. But “I’m Your Puppet” and “Hey Mama” are the real gems and will draw inevitable comparisons to Sugar Ray. The album is a departure from their previous work, Shades Of Brown, in that it is less political. However, Los Mocosos still finds time to jab the current commander-in-chief in the hilarious and witty salsa tune “Senor Presidente.”