Nacional Records, México
Rating: 80 ★★★★
By Carlos Reyes
"Bulevar 2000" shouts "this is not a love song", and yet it is. They still got it. Nortec Collective’s most prominent members Bostich (Ramon Amezcua) + Fussible (Pepe Mogt) have not only hold on to their sound with unmatched continuity, they keep carving windows to their borderland landscape; the site of Tijuana’s vivacity as an ethereal sin city with the oddest first-hand infrastructure. The pair has solidified the sound of Nortec; it’s no longer a game of two or the pride of their border city, their expanded horizon has taken them to global proportions, making their music an underdog protagonist on the international dancefloor.
Bulevar 2000 is the duo’s second album following their stellar and still refreshing Tijuana Sound Machine (Nacional, 2008). Bostich + Fussible aren’t practitioners of accommodating styles, neither are they searching for complimentary beats or cultural collision, they’re watchful engineers of a legendary rich land, and they’re making the soundtrack of Tijuana. The new album is more precise on its approach to the actual city; in fact, it’s a conciliation between the developing sound of more of a decade, and its encounter with an international platform. Spectacular opening track “Radio Borderland” shows a two-men voyage distant to the Norteño and Banda structure, yet close to the heart of their loving home (which is why songs like “We’re Too Late” and “Must Love” got a Chicano-feel to them).
The consolidation of the Nortec sound opens several virtual windows, most notably the implementation of vocals on almost half of the record. First single “I Count The Ways” expands the possibilities of Tijuana as the ultimate third-world wonderland. The lyrics are the words of lament and discovery, “I can’t be haunted if I never see a ghost”, the music base is a beautifully choreographed war zone, where the fully armed accordions shift gears with a classical panorama. It all ends as a fascinating vanguard piece that’s also, a crowd-pleaser. This is one of Nortec’s most predominant qualities, their ability get an emotional response from just about anyone, whether it is my cumbia-loving mother or my ultra-traditional father.
Almost everyone within our circuit expected an album about drug cartels, and the bloody apparatus of the Mexican government, Nortec’s vision on the subject is that of an outsider; romanticizing their memories and processing the news through very nostalgic music. While there are enough disco moments in the album to get a fever and still call this the future sound of Mexico, much of the album is heart-trenching. “Last View From Slussen” and “Must Love” hold agonizing pain inside, songs that make you tear up on the highway. Bulevar 2000 is a trip on the mist, very unexpected and full of surprises, yes, a pool of music. It’s also a physical distance out of Tijuanaland, but one thing is for sure, pals Bostich + Fussible, like most of us Mexicans on foreign lands keep an eye on our country’s silhouette, the heart is forever there.