25 Suaves - I Want It Loud (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

25 Suaves

I Want It Loud (2004)

Bulb / Bastard Son

I think that it's safe to say, for even the average listener, no artist in the last 20 years has had as much of in impact on the musical landscape as Gerardo, and his 1991 single that should adorn the #1 spot on best of the century lists everywhere, "Rico Suave." His musical contributions will be just as apparent with our grandchildren as they are with us, and we can only hope to attain half the level of greatness that he bestowed on the world. While Gerardo's musical genius never attained the level of success again that he found with "Rico Suave," rock band 25 Suaves are leading the crusade in Gerardo awareness, with their White Stripes-like, 2-piece husband and wife approach.

Many critics would argue that featuring only guitar and drums grows stale after a while, as there are only so many songwriting variations to be found that way, which is why 25 Suaves opted to include a bassist in this record, but I just have one question. Where is he? It seems that the bassist pops up in songs with a deep groove every few songs, but his inclusion does relatively little to change the pace or dynamic of 25 Suaves' songwriting. There are several points on the album where some thick bass would mold very nicely with the guitar-and-drum combination, but it's nowhere to be found amidst the guitar fuzz and drum rolls. 25 Suaves play an extremely metal-tinged version of rock, so it's possible the bass wouldn't be as prevalent anyway, but if you go through the trouble to add a bassist to your band, one would think you'd find a way to use him more efficiently.

That's not to say the songwriting is primitive, as there's some great riffs and solid drumming that create some undeniably enjoyable grooves, but I just don't know that there's enough variation over the 40 minutes of this album to keep things from going stale. "Let It Burn" showcases some excellent guitar-work and interaction with the drumming once the vocals fade away. It's fast, but it's tight, and the album's title, I Want It Loud, seems right on target. The almost-seven-minute "Born Dead" showcases the slower, sludgier style of guitar playing with the heavy sounding drums filling any background space. The sound isn't quite as dynamic as when they're playing faster, but it's interesting just the same. "Maybe You're Right" starts out with a furious drum roll and some speedy, distorted riffing. The discordant playing continues through the song with the same frenzied pace kept up on drums. It's not the most innovative playing I've heard, but there's definitely talent and cohesion there, and I find that the music is much better sans vocals.

It's not that Peter Larson is a bad vocalist, but he doesn't bring enough to the overall composition of songs to warrant really being there. As with most metal types, the lyrics are straight cheese. Be that Ricotta or Swiss is left up to your discretion, but the fact remains they're borderline laughable; "Maybe you're right, maybe you're wrong / Maybe it's just we can't get along." He's not quite the mass producer of cheddar that Ronnie James Dio is, but he's not Tolstoy either.

If you like gritty, in your face rock with a lot of metal edge, this will most likely meet your fancy. It's loud, it's aggressive, but outside that niche market that fans of this type adhere to, there's not much to be found. For what they're trying to do, thumbs up, but maybe next time let people know you did actually add a bassist.