Over the last decade, in the rush to proclaim rock en español a genuine musical movement (when it's more accurately a cultural phenomenon), many bands have been hyped and overestimated simply for playing familiar-sounding music in a different tongue.
Cafe Tacuba is not one of those bands. This Mexico City quartet is endlessly inventive, mixing rock with ska, new-wave pop and a variety of Latin beats, ultimately arriving at an odd hybrid that has yet to exhaust itself after five excellent albums.
Often called "the Beatles of Mexico" (when not being called "the Talking Heads of Mexico"), Cafe Tacuba formed in 1989 as a design-school side project and took its name from one of the group's favorite Mexico City coffeehouses.
After a four-year hiatus, the group returned last year with the Grammy winning Cuatro Caminos, which featured the production contributions of Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips) and Andrew Weiss (Ween). Those connections are not accidental. Like the Flaming Lips and Ween, Cafe Tacuba concedes no music limits, and the band has found a way to age gracefully without sacrificing its special brand of weirdness.