Defying natural expectations, this is certainly no ordinary cover album. The Grammy-nominated AVALANCHA DE EXITOS is Mexican alt-outfit Cafe Tacuba's tribute to some of their favorite songwriters. While there's none of their own material to be found here, AVALANCHA is surely one of the finest, most inventive, effervescent Latin-alternative recordings of the '90s. Gustavo Santaolalla and Anibal Kerpel get points for putting a bright production sheen on all the madness.
"Chilanga Banda" crawls along like a funky snake, with entertaining nonsense lyrics sprayed out with rhythmic abandon. Nacho Cano's "No Controles" offers sneering vocals and acoustic guitar riffery that lands like a brick, ultimately leading to an exotic vocal harmony and jaw-harp reverie. The soft, operatic "No Me Comprendes" slowly builds into a lovely, spacious reference to Jobim's "Wave," with piano, vibraphone, and atmospheric bird calls. Loosely based on the version by the Ventures, the old favorite "Perfidia" is rendered as a haunting instrumental with a curious combination of bowed upright bass, bleeps and bloops, strings, synth-drum programming, and vibrato guitar. Singer/fiddler Alejandro Flores then tears into a stirring acoustic take on merenguero Juan Luis Guerra's jewel, "Ojala Que Llueva CafT" ("I Hope It Rains Coffee in the Countryside").