More rock than Latin

Emilio Estfan would like you to believe that Vallejo is the rock ‘n’ roll version of the so-called Latin Explosion.

Compared to other rock bands hailing from Central and South America, Vallejo sounds downright white-washed next to Café Tacuba, Molotov, or even Maná.

As Marc Anthony said time again, this alleged Latin Explosion doesn’t involve any Latin music and consists only of three people. Four, if you count Enrique Iglesias.

And while Jennifer Lopez singing in Spanish against a techno beat isn’t exactly merengue, Vallejo’s brand of Latin-tinged rock isn’t Led Zeppelin either.

On the band’s major label debut, Into the New, Vallejo actually sticks to a formula familiar on previous albums — big rock riffs, syncopated Latin rhythms and a thump-whack back beat.

It’s tough not to dig the larger-than-life guitar hooks on the title track or “Over You.” Nor is it easy to keep your head still on the rhythmically infectuous “Someway” or “I Go On.”

For a rock record, Into the New certainly lives up to task. As a Latin rock record, well — the influence is there, but you won’t find a spot on the Watcha Tour for them.

A Spanish-language version of the album is expected in the next few months, so maybe — just maybe — you’ll find Vallejo and the Chris Perez Band on the same bill.

Hmmm. Wonder why Estefan didn’t pursue Perez instead?

Oh, as for the question about whether this album is any good — yes, it is. It most definitely is.