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[whitespace] Sophomore Luck

Molotov's second album surpasses the Mexican band's acclaimed debut drop

By David Espinoza

WHAT TO DO when you're the hottest new band out of Mexico? Record a second album, of course. The answer seems so simple, it's almost easy to forget the sophomore album curse: Make a debut that reaches greatness, and the pressure is on for the second to be just as good if not better. It's a story that bands like Tool and Rage Against the Machine can easily attest to. Perhaps more importantly, though, the pressure is especially high if your first album sells over a million copies worldwide and is nominated for a Grammy. Lucky for Mexico City boys Molotov, they have more tricks up their sleeves than just singing songs named "Puto" and "Chinga Tu Madre." Similar to their hugely successful 1997 Donde Jugaran las Ninas?, Molotov's second full-length release, Apocalypshit, from entertainment behemoth Universal Music, is full of razor-sharp, explosive, in-your-face tunes--but with a different angle.

For one thing, the quartet has matured, at least musically speaking--moving away from overtly testosterone-pumped funk to more serious heavy rap-rock. Produced by Mario Caldato (Beastie Boys), the new material is slightly darker, although there's still that distinct Molotov edginess that has made the group a crossover hit in the U.S. as well as in Europe. Much of this has to do with the fact that the band makes an effort to bilingualize its lyrics, because drummer Randy Ebright, a.k.a. El Gringo Loco, is a Spanish-speaking white boy who grew up in Mexico City. It's a unique touch, listening to Spanish rap with an English accent and vice versa, which is complemented by the band's overall tight musicianship.

The new effort has also brought more guitar and bass effects to Molotov's sound, a fine idea, since the group has two bass players. On tracks like "Step Off" and "Apocalypshit," you can hear the band's two biggest influences: Rage Against the Machine and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. While Molotov is just as political as the former band, it remembers to have a sense of humor. In the long run, Molotov's heavy sampling of these two Americano bands might come back to haunt it, but in the meantime Molotov is only getting better.

Speaking of the hottest bands in Latin rock, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs are coming to the Warfield in San Francisco on Friday (Oct. 22) along with local Bay Area Chicano rockers Los Mocosos. The Argentine sextet Los Fabulosos Cadillacs has been around since the mid-'80s and is considered one of the founders of the ever-expanding rock en español scene. In 1998, the group won a Grammy for the newly created Latin Rock/Alternative Record category, beating out contemporaries such as Café Tacuba, Aterciopelados and Molotov. The group's latest effort, La Marcha del Golazo Solitario--with an insane mix of tropical, ska, punk, rock and reggae--is further proof that Los Cadillacs are still one of the best bands out of Argentina,

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From the October 21-27, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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