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World Music CD Reviews North American

Los Burbanks

By Matt Cibula
Published April 27, 2007

Snake
Infidel Records

At first listen, there seems to be way too much going on here. Los Burbanks never really decide if they want to be glam metal, punk-pop or Latin alternative rock ’n’ roll. But this power trio from Washington State turns its multiple personality disorder into a strength by throwing major-league hooks into every tune. Singer German Briseño has one foot in the kind of emo self-deprecation of Julieta Venegas and Green Day, and the other in the machismo of Metallica and Argentinian ska. His tough Spanglish yowling has a hard edge to it, but he remains vulnerable and adorable even when swearing; one song is even titled “Mödérföker.” Jay Smith shreds and stings and slams on guitar, and Briseño and drummer Jonathan Gottlieb Nelson form a rock-like and versatile rhythm section, even when asked to bang out a power ballad in 5/4 (“It’s Dead”) or invent a country/doo-wop shuffle (“Addicción”).