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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

JAGUARES

By Nils Jacobson
Published September 2, 2005

Cronicas de un Laberinto
Sony

Ten years, four hit albums, and hundreds of thousands of screaming fans have left Jaguares with little to prove. Except, of course, for the Mexican rockers’ still-unsettled campaign north of the border. Cronicas de un Laberinto (“Chronicles of a Labyrinth”) was co-produced in Nashville by Adrian Belew, who also plays guitar on the record, and it’s got a certain unstoppable forward momentum, coupled with reverberant timbres and a vague psychedelic edge that brings King Crimson to mind. But these songs are all about melody and message, not artistic invention or playful idiosyncrasy. The Spanish lyrics are dark, often dwelling on pain, deception and loss, but they are brightened by the occasional prospect (however distant and flickering) of love and redemption. Vocalist Saúl Hernandez carries the torch on “Hay Amores Que Matan” (“There Are Loves That Kill”), which starts out melancholy but picks up energy as the front-line guitars are joined by a bright horn chorus. Most of these songs are pretty standard rock fare, though, something to sing along with, not study.