By Eliza C. Kane
You can’t call cholo’s music funk, or calypso, or ska. Even vague, encompassing terms like fusion fall flat when describing their second release, Unlimited Nights and Weekends. This record, which easily toes half a dozen categorical lines, can only be called an experiment in musical hedonism.
In addition to the standard guitar stunts, horns, strings and co-ed vocals take turns as the driving force behind Unlimited’s 12 rambunctious tracks. At times this invokes the kind of dreamy swells that make up an Oscar-worthy musical score; more often it produces a manic frenzy, playful and intentionally clumsy like a three-legged race of artistic concepts. No doubt whichever mood they’re toying with, cholo’s diverse quintet is intent on keeping things interesting while having plenty fun themselves.
What could have been a schizophrenic headache shows just enough restraint and sense of proportion to keep you from punching your speakers out – but at times cuts it extremely close. Assisting this evasion are cheeky lyrics and the candid but skilled musicianship that suggests a killer live show. Rosa B’s lead vocals on “Coconut” and “Blue” conjure American Thighs-era Veruca Salt and breakout Yeah Yeah Yeahs respectively, and “Jose on Vaycay,” a could-have-been love child of Pavement and Cake, proves that any niche there was for energetic, multi-national power performers has indeed been filled.
It may not be what you want to hear when you’re stuck in traffic, or studying, or comforting a jilted friend, but if this summer puts you in the mood to bang back a few Red Bull's and split your pants cartwheeling, Unlimited just might be the record for you.