Los Chinches - Fongo
London-based update chicha sound with chippy ska rhythms and a festival-friendly energy
Sharing its name with a popular South American corn-based alcoholic drink, chicha is a musical style dating from late 1960s Peru, where hot cumbia rhythms sweat it out alongside pentatonic Andean melodies and groovy psychedelic fuzz. London-based Los Chinches seek to update that sound, bringing chippy ska rhythms and a festival-friendly energy to the retro style. Instrumentally, they’re very good indeed, particularly the Latin-American percussionists who propel the tunes in multiple directions across the dancefloor.
The Ventures-style surf guitar and rinky-dink Farfisa organ of ‘El Longing’ is irresistible, while ‘Mueve Calor’ succeeds in bringing something of the psychedelic spy movie vibe of The Specials’ second album to the Amazon. The vocal tracks, such as ‘Senorita, Can You Tell?’ and ‘Be Still, My Beating Corazon’ are the weakest, with Marty Shtrubel’s decidely unfunky vocals sounding out of place, while the jokey punter-waiter dialogue loop of ‘Gracias’ is a bit too cute.