Los Amigos Invisibles | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Los Amigos Invisibles

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Los Amigos Invisibles

The Caracas combo Los Amigos Invisibles may not stir up styles with quite as much brio as some of their rock-en-espa–ol brethren, but based on their American debut, The New Sound of the Venezuelan Gozadera (Luaka Bop), they have no problem achieving the primary objective--rocking the party. (They look like rejected extras from Swingers, slobbering like mutts over a bikini-clad woman on the album cover.) Not surprisingly the musical avenues they travel most include house, funk, acid jazz, disco, and bossa nova, though they're not afraid to change the channel occasionally, as on the Santana-esque "Mango Cool" or the sly cha-cha "Cha-Chaborro." The sextet's mixing and matching comes off natural as can be: the house stomper "Mi Linda" fleshes out pounding four-on-the-floor beats with Wah Wah Watson guitar flickers and jazzy chords, while the heavily atmospheric "Otra Vez" decorates a trip-hop groove with truncated blasts of jungle and splashes of searing guitar distortion (courtesy of guest Arto Lindsay). Lead singer Julio Brice–o is a bit of a crooner, delivering his lines, all in Spanish, with a distant quaver, which is a nice change of pace from the high-testosterone, quasi-soul caterwauling that typically accompanies this stuff. It's all a bit light--although I reckon that's the point--but judging from the Amigos' obsessively kitschy graphics I'm sure their live shtick easily overshadows the lack of depth. This is their Chicago debut. Tuesday, 7 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Marina Chavez.

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