Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Roots of Chicha [Barbès, 2007]
These "Psychedelic Cumbias From Peru" taught me why I'd resisted Cuba's belatedly exhumed Los Zafiros and Brazil's lately legendary Os Mutantes. Simply put, they were more sophisticated than the rock 'n' roll they rode into modernity on. These six Amazonian oil-town bands arrived '70s, not '60s, bearing already outmoded surf guitars, teenybopper Farfisas and space-cadet Moogs. For them, psychedelic means the Electric Prunes and "96 Tears"--in short, garage, which in the middle of an oil boom is kinda poetic. The cumbia beats they grab from up Colombia way are pokey and polka-ish, and the Andean melodies they can't get out of their heads add something new to the syncresis. The most cheerful substyle to emerge from the nether regions of "world music" in years. A-