Los Pirañas, a sort-of Colombian supergroup made up of Meridian Brothers’ Eblis Álvarez, Sidesteppers collaborator Pedro Ojeda, and Mario Galeano, of Ondatrópica and Frente Cumbiero, arrived on the scene in 2012 with Toma tu jabón Kapax. Their debut, recorded live in a single session at Bogotá’s iconic venue Matik-Matik, made a clear statement about their musicianship and love for unrefined fun – and now, their follow-up, La Diversión Que Hacía Falta En Mi País, doubles down on their sense of humor and lighthearted spirit. You just have to look at the cover art to see what we mean.
Given their credentials, it’s no surprise that the local and regional sounds of Colombia and Latin America shine on this record, but the band also threw in some influences from the 80s Colombian punk and metal scene this time around.
Tracks like “De Sol, a 18 Minutos” and “Las Olfateadoras” are good examples of those outsider influences, which are intertwined so tightly with the Latin sounds that they blend in perfectly. On the former, which is a loose interpretation of the jazz/fusion Spinetta song “A 18 Minutos del Sol,” the riffs are dark, but never fully go there thanks to the cheerful rhythmic foundation. It’s also the only track featuring vocals, the sad cry saying “Flaco, ¿por qué lo hiciste?,” among other things, a tribute to the Argentine artist.
Eblis Álvarez’ guitar is the melodic element at the front of everything, and it’s playful and twisted here, giving the music a trippy psychedelic quality. It gives a weird feel to the already weird blend of punk rock and Peruvian chicha that is “Mis Animalitos: Homenaje a los Mayas,” and to the slightly gothic-sounding track “Sir De Gusano,” one of the tracks recorded and mixed by Quantic.
The other song featuring Quantic is “Dragones Chinos,” and it’s a fantastic Afro-inspired psychedelic track. It’s also one of the few were we can hear a clean guitar, an element that creates a polyrhythm that’s both disorienting and effective. The album closes with “Cómo Me Calmo Yo,” a direct reference to Colombian punk with a tribute to Medellin’s Mutantex’s song “Sin Reacción,” and you can either mosh or dance to it.