Banda Pacheco
"More Than Just a Game", the new full length release from Austrian-Mexican rebel Rafael Neira's BANDA-PACHECO, is a genre-bashing collection of hard-rocking dance tunes and intimate ballads. From the skipping reggae of "Man Respect The Woman" featuring the female vocalist Aminata Seydi, and "Spark Up!" to the silky-smooth horn arrangements of "Confession" and "I Really Need Your Love", the tracks are overlaid with Neira's pulsing guitar riffs and passionate, heartfelt vocals. Throughout the collection of songs, recorded over a two year period with Michael Dörfler (Thomas D) which includes a Lenny Kravitz-esque anthem "Rythym and Emotion", the hyperactive "Tengo Amor", and the head-banging "Heroes for a Day", Neira's band executes tight rhythms and breaks, showcasing complex arrangements that leave the listener breathlessly awaiting the next surprise. The title track of BANDA PACHECO's "More Than Just a Game" is a spinal tap injecting the power and energy of their live shows directly into your nerve center, while "Plata Corrompe (Money Corrupts)", featuring the Kenyan rapper Cloud Tissa, delivers a gangland challenge to the bankers and politicians who have abandoned ethics for profit and power. Neira's answers to the conflicted soul of the new globalized, interconnected century are to be found in the contemplative "Nueva Direccion" and the selfless ballad, "Fly Me To The Moon" - Love, Respect, and Responsibility to one's self and others. Few long-form albums stand the test of lyrical and melodic coherence without drifting into a cliché of themselves; BANDA PACHECO's "More Than Just a Game" is a mature compilation of songs stress-tested in sweaty bars and clubs that sounds richer and fresher each time you listen to it, banishing boredom to a distant galaxy. -Michael Parenti, @exiledsurfer

  • 2003