In the next edition of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, they ought to include “How to pacify angry Hells Angels after knocking over their choppers outside of a seedy dive bar.” It happens more often than not. All you would need to get out of such a sticky situation would be a bow tie, platform shoes and a copy of Los Amigos Invisibles’ The Venezuelan Zinga Son Vol. 1. Step one, put on the bow tie and platform shoes. Step two, ask the tatooed fellow with hair on his shoulders to play the “Soul Bossa Nova”-esque “Majunche” off of the album. Step three, hop up on the bar and, on your tip toes, dance, dance dance. You’ll know you’re doing things right if the burly types sloppily yell “Majunche” along with the album. After a few minutes, the toughs will be so impressed they may just lay down their pool cues, broken bottles and butterfly knives and make you an honorary member of their motley band.
But Zinga Son Vol. 1 isn’t just good for an inspired Paul Reubens moment. Los Amigos Invisibles have transcended language (almost all of the songs are sung entirely in Spanish) and recorded a disco/funk/dance album good for almost any occasion. You can listen to a song like “Playa Azul” lounging by the pool, a bright colored cocktail in one hand while your free hand snaps to the flittering Latin rhythms. You can groove to the title track or “Ease Your Mind” in your finest polyester suit, shucking, jiving and sliding across an illuminated dance floor. You and your lad or lady can even listen to pretty much any song on the album when the polyester digs drop to the bedroom floor.
The songs on Zinga Son Vol. 1 tend to spill into each other, which leads to some interesting transitions such as when the drifty voices that close “Majunche” usher in the speedy percussion, boiling organ and soloing guitar of “Mambo Chimbo.” Later on the album, the traditional Latin sound of “Calne” fades into into the thudding funk sprawl of “Superfucker,” the album’s catchiest offering.
“Superfucker” is one of those songs you wish would play every time you entered a room or walked down the street; the song for a new breed of superhero or the hippest exploitation movie protagonist. The thick group vocals during the verse share the chorus with a voice not unlike a raspy adolescent Elmo. Together they deliver the (roughly translated) lyrics “My name is Superfucker / And I have a visa to love / My name is Superfucker / And use layer as Superman.” Presumably, something got lost in the translation.
Come to think of it, it may be a good idea to keep a copy of Zinga Son Vol. 1 on you at all times. You never know when you may knock over some motorcycles, tow a retinue of snazzily-dressed boom box-toting miscreants though the streets or meet a lovely belle or beau with a flair for polyester and layering things like Superman… whatever that means.
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