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La Flama De Tierra Caliente

Desde La Puerta De Tierra Caliente

(Altamirano; US: 25 Sep 2013; UK: Import)

Burning ‘em up down in Estado de México, La Flama de Tierra Caliente is a hyper-efficient dance sextet: three vocalists, a drummer, and two keyboardists, which technically means they play synthpop. Credited with “tuba y armonia”, keyboardist Fernando Benitez takes care of the brass oompahs; his fingers do the work of several men, and his left hand is a monster of ornate precision. Omar Miranda covers the lead lines on three different keyboards, leaving no synth preset untouched.


Accordion, brass fanfares, angelic choirs, that thing where the synth sounds like people rubbing their fingers on wine glasses—it’s all fair game until Miranda moves on to a new noise. The corrido cover “Maldito Hasta Pa’ Morirme” features a wicked “trombone” line; the vaguely rocking quebradita “Te Pido”, written by singer Guimel Adame-Galvan, apes lead guitar, organ, and a setting that could be called “Tangerine Dream feeling merry”. There’s no attempt at a unified sound here, since La Flama’s sole concern is moving the crowd. Desde La Puerta De Tierra Caliente is fast, cheap and way better than it needs to be.

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Josh Langhoff is a church musician. He's written about music for The Village Voice, The Singles Jukebox, two EMP Pop Conferences, his church newsletter, and his blogs NorteñoBlog and Surfing in Babylon.


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