We all have a band we think are indifferent to but very inside have a great deal of respect for, that sums up Jumbo for me. Although never fully amazed, I’ve learned to recognize their debut album Restaurant as a defining piece in shaping Mexico’s pop rock in the aughts. Also, this is the band that created something as glorious as “Cada vez que me voy” (DD y Ponle Play), where the undeniable qualities of Jumbo are brought in uniform rather than in the brainstorm cloud that, despite its charm, doesn’t add up to much. With that said, I find myself overly pleased with their latest album Alamo, Canciones de Madera, an unusual acoustic set that finds them at balance.
A few months ago Jumbo released a single titled “Vive”, as the mindset of their 2009 tour. I pretty much hated the song and so I wasn’t very excited for a new album. But this atypical Alamo it’s really something to hold on to, they don’t go on to redefine themselves or anything as drastic, but they finally let the warm take over, I can finally sing along. And it’s even noticeable in a very pleasing recreation of “Vive”, where the whole “no lo dejes caer” theme is actually convincing. First single “Transformandonos en Sal” is beautiful; it fervently displays Jumbo as the horizon pop rock band that is both, shimmy and genuine. Clemente Castillo’s vocals had not moved me as much since “Fotografia.”
Canciones de Madera is sweet and generous, the melodies are lovely and catchy, and the lyrics are cheerful and even surprising. In a song like “Invencibles” they almost tune into Furland’s medley of sweet pop and shining prisms. Jumbo leaves its scats home to take on a roadtrip, “No importa la dirección ni el camino, somos tan invencibles.” I can’t think of a better title for an album that is clearly nutritious and absorbing. The execution is impressive but these songs aren't enough to erase my skepticism towards the band, they do however, give me hints of what’s to come, hopefully this good. Alamo, Canciones de Madera isn't groundbreaking (I'm just really surprised) but it's mistakenly overlooked, it’s Jumbo’s best in a long time.