Soothing exuberience

There are reasons Colombia’s Aterciopelados sells out stadiums in South America.

Mostly, it’s singer Andrea Echiverri’s mesmerizing voice, a bittersweet, husky instrument that hypnotizes listeners in the same way a snake charmer keeps a viper at bay.

But also, it’s the duo’s mellow, Latin-tinged rock that floats somewhere between dreaming and waking. Aterciopelados has been labeled as a trip-hop band, and that may have been appropriate for 1998’s Caribe Atomico.

Gozo Poderoso finds the band with more up-tempo numbers and a stronger sense of its Latin identity.

Certainly, the more ethereal quality of Aterciopelados’ recent work remains, as evidenced by the ghostly vocal samples on “Luz azul” and the chiming guitars on “Uno lo mio y lo tuyo.”

But unlike Caribe Atomico, Gozo Poderoso starts out energetically and doesn’t let up till the middle of the album.

Latin rhythm drives such tracks as “Rompecabezas”, “Esmerealda”, “El album” and “La misma tijera”. The rumbling, super-slow trip-hop beats of Caribe Atomico are mostly tempered.

Aterciopelados still manage to use a sparse instrumentation to create a big sound. Even with the faster tempos, the overall mood of Gozo Pederoso is mellow, thanks to the subtle touch of instrumentalist Hector Buitrago. He doesn’t overdo it with the ethereal synthesizer effects or the Latin percussion.

“Restrained” might be the correct adjective to describe this album, but it would also be incredibly inaccurate. There’s nothing restrained about Gozo Poderso’s brighter, more energetic sound. At the same time, it’s not a return to the band’s “Florecita rockera” days.

Gozo Podersos, then, could be considered an amalgam of Aterciopelados’ various styles. Exuberiant but soothing, driven but calm.


Before Gozo Poderso was released in the States, Aterciopelados was given the Serie 2000 treatment with a collection of the band’s hits.

Serie 2000 does an incredible job of providing a brief but detailed history of the band’s work. From its more rock days to its trip-hoppy work on Caribe Atomico, the best of the best is there.

Bring Serie 2000 with you when you take Gozo Poderoso to the register.