YA SIN TABACO Y TODO CERRAO - Los Muertos Confederados (Nova Express)
Maybe if I'd signed up for Spanish back in high school instead of taking all of those art classes, I'd be able to figure out what these guys are on about. As it stands now, I can barely decipher the menu at Taco Bell's drive-thru let alone any of the liner notes or song titles on this album. As close as I can figure, "Los Muertos Confederados" means "the dead soldiers" or something along those lines and as for the title of this album, I gave up when all I could translate was "tabaco." Smoke 'em if you got 'em...

"Ya Sin Tabaco Y Todo Cerrao" was recorded in France, but it's unclear if the band is from there, Spain, Italy, Mexico or somewhere else. What is certain is that for LMC, the twang's the thang. Guitarist Benito el moro Atomico bends, twists, and throttles all six strings into submission throughout a collection of songs all sung in Spanish, which alternately sound like the collected output of the worst Ritchie Valens cover band on Earth ("Ye Ye Ye"), a Mexican wedding band ("Quizas, Quizas, Quizas"), or Ennio Morricone disciples ("Codigo de Honor").

The casual observer could quite understandably be hoodwinked into thinking LMC are mining the same schtick as Los Straitjackets, what with the cover art filled with masked wrestlers and all, but LMC seem to be playing it straight, lacking any of the Straitjackets' rollicking hijinx. It's a fairly dry, low-key affair and after repeated listenings I'm still trying to figure out what LMC are trying to accomplish here.

"Ya Sin Tabaco Y Todo Cerrao" may exhibit limited appeal for instro fans and it is competently played and produced. There just seems to be something missing or maybe I haven't waited long enough for the light bulb to click on over my head. - Clark Paull