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Aural Pleasure

Piñata Protest: "Plethora 'Reloaded'"

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In January 2010, Piñata Protest went through the last of five years of lineup changes: bassist Omar Nambo departed for L.A. to pursue other musical interests, and guitarist Manuel García left for reasons only García and songwriter/vocalist/box-squeezer Álvaro Del Norte know. That empty space, coupled with the fact that Del Norte wasn't happy with the mix of their debut album Plethora (it doesn't represent their live sound, he feels), led to Plethora "Reloaded." The album incorporates new dubs from 2010 joiners Marcus and Matt Cazares (bassist and guitarist, respectively) that provide a new low center of gravity (del Norte describes it as "ballsier"). There's also an elevated contrast between textures and a new nearness in sound as the album gains just enough gloss while maintaining its grit. Songs like "Scene Unseen" and "Cold Fries" are still Tejano-punk rock celebrations fueled by tequila and Tecate, but the songs soundtrack cold realities like dead-end jobs and hopeless scenes, underscoring Reloaded's importance. For all of the implications of being a party-rock band, Piñata Protest remain artists first and entertainers second. If perfecting their debut before recording new material doesn't prove this, nothing will.

★★★★ (out of 5 stars)

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