2012, Turbopotamos

Independiente, Perú
Rating: 78
By Carlos Reyes

Los Turbopotamos loose a bit of their rockabilly edge in 2012, an album that supposedly signifies a change on how they approach music. I’m guessing this is the last album before they make the big transformation, because they sound exactly the same. Sure they seem more mature but it’s only a natural response to the almost inevitable claim that they are today’s best Peruvian rock band (although fellow alt-rockers Resplandor could totally surprise us). They pick up on the vivacious spirit of “Terrorize You Disco Flor,” pushing everything forward but keeping the inner adolescent guy in them. This will hardly make them new fans, but they’re definitely ready for them.

The opening instrumental title track is very Quentin Tarantino like; actually, it’s got that adventurous noir resemblance to Tomoyo Hotei’s “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” at a higher speed. For those not following their career, they had a big hit a few years ago with “No Love”; what’s special about it is that it’s such a romantic song taken into street setting. Something I really admire in “Bigote” which they mistakenly left out of this album. But there is a cutesy song that could help to balance Turbopotamos’s very masculine songs; “Una vez al mes” asks for more love encounters as it slides within fine guitars to later explode in big-band cacophonous glory. “Shake it” in the other hand, is a lame dose of reggae and Blink182 urgencies, luckily, they’re competent enough to make good cloying stuff with them.

“Basta” is spectacular; it streamlines a bouncy pop tune with ska, synths and delightful grooves. This is the kind of song one would expect from them, and what we admire so much about from bands like Los Romanticos de Zacatecas, Piyama Party and yes, Vampire Weekend. The chorus “Basta ya que va a estallar el amor que hay entre tú y yo” is a beautiful shout to that thing people call love but sometimes hurts people so much. The album never reaches this kind of cosmopolitan qualities, but for an EP this makes me overpass a song as unfortunate as “Little Whore.” The finishing piece “Maria Dub” is a truly warm, toe-tapping song that should prove they’re ready for a massive scale pop audience.