After so many excellent or good retrospective pop albums from mid-century Latin America we can probably afford to call this one a disappointment, even if the band is fronted by “Pajarito Zaguri ... a key figure in the birth and development of Argentine rock.” He was a member of seminal garage band Los Beatniks, then in 1968 he formed La Barra de Chocolate, then the group released an LP, then dissolved into other projects. Now the LP is back from the dead, with eight generous bonus tracks at the end, and a Spanish-language interview in the booklet. A complete oeuvre. But the Argentine-Britrock is spacy, slow, unfierce, the instruments are standing apart because they don’t really know one another, and the singer sounds forlorn up there by himself, crooning into the void, or is it just the occasional similarity to The Beatles that makes me wait for the rest to come in on the chorus and give him some support? The bonus tracks have some of the garagey fire that animated Los Beatniks, but there’s a cautiousness in the main body of the album that makes La Barra less satisfactory than it was in 1969, when the band was winning talent contests and the second single was selling 40,000 copies.
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// Notes from the Road
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