There's a smoked citrus flavor to Sonido Gallo Negro, sour swirled in sweet and spice like a tiki drink splashed with mezcal and overflowing with pineapple chunks. Since 2011, the Mexico City ensemble has explored psychedelic cumbia, with an ear towards dive-bar grit. Mambo Cósmico is the nine-piece band's third album, expanding their sonics further with a Zappa-like whimsy — without sounding anything like that mustachioed Mother, mind you. This time around, they mix in the cha cha, porro, mambo and danzon with an experimental alchemy best left to the professionals.
With spooky theremin, out-of-tune piano and a bass-y radio announcement, the opening title track wastes no time warping us into Sonido Gallo Negro's tightly composed, B-movie kitsch. A busy, carnival-esque ostinato grounds the space-y Farfisa fuzz, working your slick slacks or frilly skirt into a dancefloor frenzy. Just the trumpet whips up the climax, the band briefly guides you back to the bar with cool-jazz vibraphone and wavy theremin, like one of Señor Coconut's exotic shimmies. But before you can even sip your mezcal Mai Tai, the cosmic mambo winds up again, the Farfisa redoubling its psychedelic fury. This is fun and danceable music, with plenty of screw-eyed sensibilities out front.
Mambo Cósmico comes out April 6 via Glitterbeat Records.
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