Commercial, Los Amigos Invisibles

Nacional Records, Venezuela ****
Rating: 84
By Carlos Reyes

You gotta give it to them; Los Amigos Invisibles have earned themselves a spot as a major transcendental band that goes beyond playing ‘Latin rhythms’, they’re Venezuela’s most predominant asset and their sixth studio album is more than a continuum to a healthy career with plenty to say and breath. For the first time they dispatch the word ‘Venezuela’ from the album title, luckily the vision has not blurred a bit, but they are making precise alterations that step them out of comfort zone. I’ve always found their music very muscular, perhaps because I feel my muscles intensified while dancing to it, but also because their gozadera functions around sensuality, and although their first albums had an exceptional pedestrian sound to them, Superpop Venezuela was a turning point as it curved their exercise into an actual ‘erotic dream.’

Commercial reinforces moments of arousal and anticipation, and in a way this is their most romantic hour yet, but their scrumptious cynicism is bound to stay for everyone’s pleasure. On a recent podcast on Panamerika the guys from Jovenes y Sexys totally nailed it with their description of the band: “the most emblematic band from Venezuela and the one that best represents the idiosyncrasy of the lazy, vulgar and macho Venezuelan persona.” I think these positive adjectives would be hard to understand by other cultures, it really takes a Latin mindset (from a Latino or someone fully aware of our culture) to process the acid humor and commentary Los Amigos bring into their music and most importantly, as a behavioral impulse. I mean, just go to the album’s booklet, find the ‘thank you list’ and after listing their love partners they give the last shout out to “Manuela”, who keeps them company during extensive touring, if you get it (or not) than you probably get my point.

“Fuerza” is a fantastic introduction, they give themselves some pretty legit words to tell the world what their made up; “strength, power, durability …, versatility, potency, comfort, elegance, vanguard” among others, anything to get you ready for the incredible leading single. “Mentiras” is the denial anthem for those filthy naughty cheating guys; the first words of the song “esas son puras mentiras” place the listener right on the spot. Its narrative is so instant and urgent as if it was made for a sitcom, I mean this song would be great as a leading song for a telenovela, there’s not too many made for guys and those around would hardly strengthen the image of a Don Juan. The disc immediately follows with the single’s counterpoint, “Vivire Para Ti” is one of the sweetest songs to have flourished from them. It promises fidelity and to make love a reason to live, the response comes from Natalia Lafourcade’s gifted vocals that embrace the gentleman’s proposition as they get inspired and make love.

The band continues to expose its tropical rhythms to an audience that wouldn’t listen to salsa or merengue, but these guys keep contemporary tropical rolling into new horizons. Some of the standout tropical pieces include the smothering “Loco Por Tu Amor”, the half merengue half metallic “Merengue Killa”, and a trip to Brazil in “Es La Verdad.” But the juiciest song here has to be “Oyeme Nena”, it steps away from any spice of funk or house to reveal itself as a beautiful salsa; actually, the best salsa moment I’ve had since Marc Anthony’s tremendously impressive soundtrack for El Cantante. “Plastic Women” is bound to have some attention; a woman’s road to perfection in the hands of plastic surgery. And, don’t skip the interludes, they’re probably are the year’s best, in particular “Desnudos” and “Romantico Palman Izum” which you’ll be playing over and over as the album itself. By the end of the album you’ll be nodding your head in agreement with the album’s confident and proper intro.