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Colossal Head
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Performer Notes
  • Los Lobos: Cesar Rosas, David Hidalgo (vocals, guitar); Louie Perez (guitar, drums); Steve Berlin (saxophone); Conrad Lozano (bass).
  • Additional personnel: Victor Bisetti, Pete Thomas, Efrain Toro, Yuka Honda.
  • Producers: Mitchell Froom, Tchad Blake, Los Lobos.
  • Recorded at Sunset Sound Factory, Hollywood, California.
  • COLOSSAL HEAD is an answer to all those who thought the East LA band of (now) 40somethings may have passed on to the other side of the greatness curve. No such luck. HEAD expands the band's artistic borders--a process begun on 1992's KIKO and continued with the Latin Playboys side project and various film scores--even further away from the Tejano-based, American roots mosaic that Los Lobos had perfected on their way to becoming one of America's finest rock and roll bands.
  • There are black and white touchstones throughout COLOSSAL HEAD, from Stax soul to Mexican folk music, but they're distorted by avant-garde colors. Genre-less, futuristic pieces like the keyboard-led title track are warmed up by familiar touches--in this case, a fat, fuzzed-up guitar duel that evokes early Santana--while the most conventional, bar-band-ish tunes ("Manny's Bones," "Everybody Loves A Train") are invaded by freakish arrangements and slices of affected dissonance. But the band's inherent rock grooveability, with its stinging guitar solos and rollocking baritone sax, never goes away. Guest keyboardist Yuka Honda (of Cibo Matto) brings some sample-happy textures to the party, producers Tchad Blake and Mitchell Froom provide percussion-heavy applications, and the convention-distorting spirit of Captain Beefheart looms over all.
Professional Reviews
Spin (1/97, p.58) - Ranked #9 on Spin's list of the "20 Best Albums of '96."

Spin (4/96, pp.107-110) - 8 (out of 10) - "...adds a fresh, woozy spin to the group's fascination with communities under stress and gives them new license to sanctify little crises of the heart with chrome-bright licks of guitar and sax. Los Lobos have the richest repertoire of any American band...and they're hidden in plain sight..."

Dirty Linen (6-7/96, p.65) - "...COLOSSAL HEAD...is another powerhouse collection of their own distinct blend of roots music for the 21st century."

Musician (5/96, p.93) - "...Fans of the group's more familiar, melodic pop-rock may not embrace their brave new world of funky collage music, but that's their loss. Los Lobos has managed to straddle several borders at once, from language to culture to musical genres..."

Village Voice (2/25/97) - Ranked #5 in the Village Voice's 1996 Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.
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