LDA V The Lunatics
Los de Abajo, 2005
This, surely, is one of the more glorious moments in the history of clashes between global music styles. ...the best album they've made thus far.
The Temple of Sound team were determined to capture the impact of the band playing live, when they met up in Mexico City in the studios of that famed Mexican rocker and ranchero exponent, Pepe Aguilar. They took their time. Instead of rushing into a hectic recording schedule, they spent two weeks together simply rehearsing and re-working the songs, changing styles or tempos and gradually reducing the 30 contenders to the 15 songs that appear on the album. Nearly half of those tracks were then recorded live - including the Fun Boy song that now appears as Los Lunaticos (though the vocals from Neville Staples and trombone work from Bad Bone and Jazz Jamaica star Dennis Rollins were added back in England). As for the other tracks, they show off a different side to the band's work, making subtle use of programming. The result, as Carlos agrees, is "a balance between traditional Mexican music styles and European electronic influences. There is even a pop element, through the strings and voices".
- "Musical Adventurousness and Sonic Muscle" Mexican revolutionary sloganeering, environmental concerns, global politics and clenched-fist leftist anthems all bounce over the bands infectious grooves. Highlights include Fun Boy Three's "The Lunatics (Have Taken Over The Asylum)" in both Spanish and English and featuring FBT's Neville Staples; ska and reggae fueled by accordians, Mexicala horns and DJ scratching; and "Da Marcha," which sounds like a Mariachi band attampting an Eastern European Romany procession. We all may be inmates of the global asylum, but with groups like Los De Abajo providing the music, you'll want to lock up the cells and dance. The Virginian Pilot (USA)
- Live at Islington Academy ...nothing could dispel the euphoria of a night which took many back to the celebratory but politically charged era of the Clash and the Specials. They [Los de Abajo] really are that good. Independent on Sunday (UK)
- The Global Party of the Year A rousing ska revival is always welcome and this was surely the global party of the year. The finest moment came when this energetic band from Mexico City decided it was time for a little British revivalism. As they launched, in Spanish, into the old Fun Boy Three hit The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum, a delighted Neville Staples came on to remind them how the orginal had sounded 23 years ago... By the time they had finished, everyone was pogo dancing.... This was a cheerful reminder that ska lives on in Mexico and of how the band has progressed. Led by singer Liber Terán, who looked like some midly crazed exile from the Alabama Three in his cowboy hat and dark glasses, the 10-piece band started at full tilt and continued at much the same pace for nearly two hours... This band has to be experienced live. The Guardian (UK)
- Moonstruck maniacal Mexicana ...a magnicent collection of ska, punk, mestizo rock, hip-hop, cumbia, mariachi and reggae that outdoes even the electicism of its predecessor. The opener 'Resistencia' is Latin hip-hop at its coolest, and features the voice of Comandanta Esther, one of the leaders of the 1994 Zapatista uprising. The accordian-fuelled fury of 'De Marcha' sounds like an old village banda playing whilst tripping on peyote. The brassy 'Mi Candela' is Salsa at its most manic and 'A La Orillita' is equally furious. There's a magnificent Latin-ska take on Fun Boy Three's 1982 hit 'The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum)', with original Fun Boy Neville Staples, joining in the fun. The slinky 'Tortuga Dub' is sung in the ancient, pre-Hispanic Mexican language Zapotec. Temple Of Sound's production somehow manages to yoke the wild, untamed feel of LDA's live sets to state-of-the-art studio wizardry, and if they aren't nominated again at next year's Award for World Music, I'll eat my chilli-filled hat. Songlines
- Catch Them Live For the Full Effect! "...plenty of ska, a shot of salsa, a shed-load of punk and for good measure some high-speed Colombian cumbia....all fed through the filter of their own uniquely Mexican sensibilities...This album works so well because it captures the band's volcanic live presence while still having the sheen of excellent studio production - but try to catch them live for the full effect." Metro (UK)
- One of the Finer Moments in the History of Global Pop Fusion! This, surely, is one of the finer moments in the history of global pop fusion. There's a brassy, south-of-the-border mariachi introduction, a grand announcement ("Rude Boy ... this is made in Mexico") and then a sudden switch to ska as Los de Abajo launch into a rousing Spanish-language treatment of the 1980s Fun Boy Three hit, The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum, with original Fun Boy Neville Staples joining in. The Guardian (UK)
- The Missing Link Between The Clash and Fun Boy Three! A flutter of mariachi trumpet; some spaghetti-western guitar; a shout of "Rude Boy! This is Radio Mexico!" Then the song starts in earnest, and it is, unmistakably, "The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum)", rendered in Spanish, forming the missing link between The Clash and Fun Boy Three. Los De Abajo are a politically-minded Mexican band, sometime proteges of Manu Chao. Temple Of Sound, the producers, give their new album a fashionably dub-heavy mix, and the 15 songs zip along almost too quickly. "Resistencia", the band cry at intervals, but that would be futile. The Financial Times (UK)