Mexican Institute Of Sound

If you were to ask, 9 out of 10 cats would tell you that they could name just one song that encapsulates the idea of Mexican Institute Of Sound, and that would be Mas Que Nada – a Brazilian song. So expectations for “Méjico Máxico” were somewhat limited to it being… latin-ish.

But from opening track “Bienvenidos A Mi Disco” to the final (of 8) bonus tracks, “M.F.P.D.A”, this album captivated me. The combination of styles that it boasts, along with the mysteriousness that every foreign language release brings made me want to play it again and again. And I did. And then some.

I’ll get the obvious observations out of the way first. You can’t help but love “Mirando A Las Muchachas”, partly because you can sing along to it after only 2 or 3 listens, partly due to the building tempo and mixture of styles, but mostly because it heavily samples “Music To Watch Girls By” – to devastating effect: the main hook is simply contagious.

On the flip side, there’s “OK!”, which is perky the first time you hear it, bland the second and downright annoying from the third on. I think the fact that the rest of the album is so inventive and varied makes a track where the word “OK!” is repeated ad infinitum just seem lazy.

There are far too many excellent tracks on this album for me to pick out every highlight by name, but then again, it’s not the sort of record that you listen to for individual tracks. Camilo Lara, the man behind the institutionalised band name, carefully mixes each track so that, up to a minute before the following track begins, there are elements of it being echoed and brought into your sub-consciousness.

And then there are the tracks that you expect to become one thing, but that morph into a completely different creature. Take “Drume Negrita”, which starts off like a skit, but becomes a densely-layered 5-minute monster.

So the beauty with Méjico Máxico is that it’s never quite what you expect it to be. Ideal both floating in the background or up loud in the car, it’s flexible, diverse and engaging (mostly…). What’s more, you’ll find that all kinds of different people enjoy it. I’ve played this to friends who listen to all kinds of different musical genres and they all loved it regardless. An eye – and ear – opener, well worth buying right now!

Simon Middleyard