Café Tacuba

Cuatro Caminos (Geffen)

With Revés/Yosoy (1999), Café Tacuba (by far the best Mexican rock group ever) got away with murder. The risky double album didn't sell jack, but it deservedly won a Latin Grammy and was at the top of many critics' year-end lists. Cuatro Caminos (Four Roads), their first true studio album in four years, is disconcertingly great. The opener "Cero y Uno" is a dense mid-tempo rocker that's all in your face and doesn't sound like any previous Tacuba. "EO," an infectious but innocuous twist, is turned into a classic, thanks to an instrumental bridge led by an out-of-tune toy piano.

From time to time, Tacuba throws in radio-friendly songs. On the ballad "Eres" ("You Are"), singer Elfego Buendía (born Rubén Albarrán, he changes his name on each album) wraps the song with an unexpected Eastern touch. It works to make Cuatro Caminos the product of a band with the naive yet firm conviction that the music, and only the music, will make things happen for them. We hope they're right.