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Con Todo Respeto
Surco/Universal Latino

A couple of weeks ago, I loaned a friend of mine my copy of Molotov's 2003 release Dance And Dense Denso, which as you faithful readers know, was my favorite record of last year. And those who know me personally know that I don't really loan out my music collection…sometimes things end up missing. Thus was the case for this record…and Terry's a great friend of mine! I was starting to stress, jonesin' for newer Molotov (now…I have all their records, but Dance… is definitely the best) when what happens to walk in my door…the new Molotov record, Con Todo Respeto.

The first surprise was the fact that there was a new record…I mean, these guys are one of my favorite bands of the recent years, and I try to keep up on what they're up to. Secondly, Con Todo Respeto is a covers record! Yep, you heard me right. Instead of following up the critically acclaimed Dance… with new material, the guys dig into some great covers. Now those of you who know Molotov's stuff shouldn't be too surprised at their turn to a "covers" record…you've heard their mutation of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" (titled "Rap Soda y Bohemia") for a tribute record, right? Well we get more of the same fun, innovation, and re-working prowess that made that reworked tune so special. And on top of that, no form of music is spared from their twisting and turning…from punk, to rap, to disco, to Mexican favorites, to eighties cheese-pop. Sometimes all these elements collide in one tune!

The album leads off with "Amateur", a vibrant single that's a re-working of Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus". Buoyed by a bass line reminiscent of Led Zep's "Whole Lot Of Love", the band pokes fun at themselves here as well…the changing of the title refrain points to an inside joke in the band, according to guitarist Tito Fuentes: "[It] is a prank that we use every time a guitar is muted just because a switch is off, or every time stupid little things like this happen…we're always singing 'Amateur, amateur'." Yep, Molotov's humor is still as forefront as usual. Disco gets slaughtered with a fun take of Lipps, Inc.'s "Designer Music" ("Diseno Rolas"). As soon as the vocals get going, you'll recognize it. On the other end of the spectrum, punk rock gets a Mexican influenced version of The Misfits' "I Turned Into A Martian" ("Marciano"). The diddling guitar line and staggered beats give it a new life, complete with a spoken word breakdown thrown in for good measure. On the Misfits topic, you could swear that you are hearing Danzig and friends come back from the past with the reworking of the Beastie Boys classic "Girls" ("Chavas"). Gone are the plinky keyboard sounds and stupid behavior of the NYC boys, replaced with a good ol' sixties surf-punk and creepingly "Danzig" vocals. This one is fun. But the boys do keep a couple of other tunes fairly straight-forward: The translation of Gil Scott-Heron's classic protest tune "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" is kept very respectful (writer's note: I only understand bits of Spanish, so if any lyrical disrespect is present, I didn't catch it.). The other nugget left fairly untweeked is the Trio classic "Da Da Da", complete with the Casio keyboard building blocks.

Now, it's a bit harder for me to compare some of the Mexican/Latin artists that are covered on the record, but that doesn't mean that you listeners will feel left out on the fun. "Perro Negro Granjero" takes the lyrics from a tune by Three Souls In My Mind and lays them over the classic swamp boogie of ZZ Top's "La Grange". "Aguela" transforms The Clash's "Magnificent Seven" bass line to carry Vico C's "Mi Abuela". Then just to keep the fun rolling in, and get this, we get snippets of Young M.C.'s "Bust A Move" thrown into the chorus. Re-workings of La Sonora Santanera ("La Boa A Go-Go") and Chico Che y La Crisis ("Quen Pon-Ponk") bolster the Latin music side of the equation. A final kicker is all of the "radio spots" that pepper the record, a couple of which are courtesy of Money Mark.

As usual with a Molotov record, unless you speak Spanish you will miss some of the jokes, bawdy humor, dirty fun and mayhem that they have been loved and chastised for all over the Latin music community. Don't let this fact dissuade you fellow Spanish-illiterates: The record cruises and pulses with fun, the usual stellar musicianship, and the unique sounds that their dual bass, guitar, and drum format always produce. And, as usual, everyone gets a chance to take the mic and add their own personal flavors to the record. I thought I had picked a winner of "Best record of the year", but by the time the balloting is complete, there may be a winner that just so happens to sneak in at the last minute. You'll have to wait 'til the end of the year for that. In the meantime, get yourself some fun, and get your hands on some Molotov. (Oh, BTW…I did finally get my CD back from my friend, as if you care!)

-tom topkoff

Track Listing:

1. Amateur
2. Diseno Rolas
3. Marciano
4. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised ("La Revo")
5. La Boa A Go-Go
6. Chavas
7. Mamar
8. Quen Pon-Ponk
9. Da Da Da
10. Perro Negro Granjero
11. Aguela
12. Mi Aguita Amarilla

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