“D! I! S! C! O!” chant the members of Plastilina Mosh on “Boombox Baby,” one of the first tracks from the Mexican duo’s album, Juan Manuel.
Disco is only one of many influences driving Plastilina Mosh’s music, but it’s certainly a significant one. Keyboardist Alejandro Rosso and guitarist Jonaz incorporate all the Really Cool Things happening in the club music underground but infuse it with a live feel.
“Tiki Fiesta” and “Arpoador” sound like Plastilina Mosh raided the Esquivel vaults like almost every other DJ on the planet. Then the pair launches into dance floor-ready, driving tracks such as “Bassass (International Stereo”) or “Human Disco Ball.”
On “Boombox Baby,” they’ve done a faithful recreation of a classic disco track, right down to the slapped bass and tinny electronic clavier. Then on “Baretta ’89,” Rosso and Jonaz lay a processed vocal straight from a Stevie Wonder record over a sleazy ’60s bass line.
It’s music that’s slavishly devoted to the past but evidently made in the last few years of the millenium.
Singing in English and Spanish, it’s difficult to peg Plastlina Mosh as a rock en Español band. (The group’s press materials pompously discourage such activity.) But it’s not hard to find Latin influences in the band’s music — an accordion here, congas there.
And unlike a lot of instrumental-driven, club-marketed bands, Plastilina Mosh’s music is as hook-y as it is textured. There’s a real sense of songwriting craft on Juan Manuel, and while this music is great for the floor, it makes for memorable listening as well.
Juan Manuel is an impressive work from a band with a keen appreciation of the past and an fascinating vision of the future.