Classic, Intocable

Classic. Intocable
Sony International, Mexico
Rating: 63
By Carlos Reyes

Intocable’s conception of ‘classic’ is very out there; considering they’re always aiming for reinvention it’s not that big of a shock that their latest album cover references the counter-culture movement in the most miscellaneous of ways. It’s this kind of detailing that reinforces the group’s sense for uniqueness, something truly noticeable in their beginnings and not as prevalent nowadays. Like Pegasso did on its time, Intocable’s songs are inclined towards a sort of alternative audience but keeping their arena-size reach also in mind. Classic isn’t necessarily a change in sound but a return to an earlier Intocable (Fuego Eterno, Otro Mundo), which most people never really new in the first place. Before all the cutesy songs (and a couple of anthems), this band from Zapata, Texas had much of Los Tigres del Norte and Cornelio Reyna in them. The same way they are declared fans of The Smiths or Jay Z, their music has never really shown such eclectic inspirations but it has led them to explore new lands. They quickly lost the ‘Tejano’ tag to own a spot as one of Norteño’s most engaging and influential names, ever.

It’s hard to think of Intocable as a Mexican-American act, they’re fully embedded in Mexico’s hot-selling industry, perhaps the only Regional Mexican group with constant Top40 (pop) airplay. In such way, it’s not all surprising that they have ended up collaborating with Ricardo Arjona or AB Quintanilla, their incursion to Latin Pop has not been very fortunate, but it’s nice to see them try. If anything, it has been nice to see their songs on the hands of people like Natalia Lafourcade, Tego Calderon, Jumbo and Kinky. And let’s not forget that lately, Volovan sounds just like them. Through the last decade or so, we’ve seen hundreds of groups picking up their aesthetics, it will be interesting to see just how much Classic affects them, for one, it’s like the album Intocable had been trying to avoid. First single “Hay Ojitos” is a chart-topper, an endearing song that sums up what Classic sounds like. Other standouts include “Tu amor y mi amor”, “Rompiendo el Retrato” and the really weird “Estamos en Algo.”

Monterrey’s Luis ‘Louie’ Padilla gave them a bunch of hits, but lately the group was sinking in its own mellowness. Their country album, Crossroads being the excuse, it was refreshing, but also misunderstood. It would’ve been nice to see them explore that channel even further; instead, they have tightened their outfits to sing ranchero songs with Norteño instruments and techniques. In Classic, they team up with legendary Ramon Ayala and pay homage to their idol and Los Relampagos del Norte. The result is a bit too conservative and respectful but nonetheless, these guys are damn classy. Ayala was on charge of the album’s well adjusted production, Intocable is recognizable but a bit restrained. But asking them to suddenly transform themselves is harsh, still, I was hoping for something as magical as “Estas Que Te Pelas” or at least for them to take notice (and apply) Michael Salgado’s tricks, if you’re not aware yet, the guy is Norteño’s most exciting persona.

Classic is obviously another effort to prevent Intocable from settling in, and it works fine, I’m just not caught-up to the rushed rhymes of Norteño’s standardized pace. But my dad loved this, meaning Intocable accomplished their goal of breaking continuity, and that’s always a virtue.