Led by wife and husband team Ani Cordero and Chris Verne, Cordero has become a staple of Latin-flavored indie rock. For their fifth offering, De Dónde Eres, the band kicked up the Latin-flavor and pulled back a bit on the indie rock aspect.
Past albums have featured a mix of English- and Spanish-language songs, but regardless of the language of the lyrics, the message was frequently delivered in packages spiced with horns and beats that made it impossible to sit still. De Dónde Eres heightens the Latin rhythms, instrumentation, and mood. Alternating between contemplative, strident, and festive arrangements, the album and the band are unified by Ani's passionate lyrics and delivery.
My Spanish vocabulary is limited, so I tend to focus on the layers of sounds, rhythms, and the handful of phrases that I recognize. The digipak does not include the lyrics, so interested listeners with equally poor Spanish-language skills will need to do a bit of digging online to find lyrics and translations. One chorus that stands out in particular is, "La musica es la medicina." Indeed, music is often the only medicine we need to get by.
Repetition of phrases, both lyrically and musically, are used frequently in Ani's songs to emphasize the mood and (I assume) the message. The electric guitar chord phrase that is repeated against the vocals in "Veneno," along with the percussion, creates a hypnotic loop that is so compelling that the shift to the more energetic "La yegua" causes some momentary disorientation, which is soon replaced by the hypnotic rhythms of that songs' chorus. The latter tune is guaranteed to generate some smiling, bobbing, heads. It's difficult to resist the joy in the melody, both sung and played on an accordion.
De Dónde Eres concludes with a song that is so carefree and happy in its sound that I feel compelled to hit repeat and go back through the whole album every time it ends. "La vida sencilla" also contains just enough basic Spanish vocabulary that I can nearly understand it without a translation dictionary, which should please the language geeks relying on their vague recollection of high school Spanish.
Cordero has a history of creating solid, well produced indie rock records, and this is no exception. The production gives the album a full studio sound without removing the raw energy and passion in the band's performance. Sounding good both on your audiophile headphones or your cheap computer speakers, De Dónde Eres is a must-have for your music collection.
Cordero, “Ruleta Rusa” from Bloodshot Records on Vimeo.