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Review: 'Bolero Apocalíptico' by Monsieur Periné

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

There's no question Latin pop music is having a moment. And NPR Music's Felix Contreras is loving it. He hosts the Alt.Latino podcast and says if you dive below the surface, there's even more great music to discover.

FELIX CONTRERAS, BYLINE: No shade to the pop stars, but for me, some of the most interesting and musically creative music is being made by bands like the one we're featuring today, Monsieur Perine from Colombia.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PROMETEME")

MONSIEUR PERINE: (Singing in non-English language).

CONTRERAS: Monsieur Perine is largely vocalist Catalina Garcia and multi-instrumentalist Santiago Prieto. Their new album, "Bolero Apocaliptico" or "Apocalyptic Bolero," is their first in five years, and they're now showing the signs of artists who are comfortable with their musical path and are expanding on that. I'm going to play three songs that reflect that, and the first track is "Prometeme." Now, first tracks are crucial. They set the tone of the entire album. And there are traces of traditional bolero on the song but with sonic treatments that give it a contemporary edge. And then this happens...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PROMETEME")

MONSIEUR PERINE: (Singing in non-English language).

CONTRERAS: They dig into that really cool, deep R&B groove and the lyrics throughout the song - promise me that we'll be together even if the world comes to an end - and one that I really like - promise me that we will invent a world if this one ends, a world where we can walk nude like los hippies from the 1960s.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PROMETEME")

MONSIEUR PERINE: (Singing in non-English language).

CONTRERAS: This is a deeply emotional lyric about loving the Earth or a partner, but with a lot of humor. I really like it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CUMBIA VALIENTE")

MONSIEUR PERINE: (Singing in non-English language).

CONTRERAS: The next song is "Cumbia Valiente," and it actually leans in on the Afro-Colombian dance cumbia mixed with a hint of reggaeton. Check this out.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CUMBIA VALIENTE")

MONSIEUR PERINE: (Singing in non-English language).

CONTRERAS: And the chorus sings, my cumbia is brave. It is a call for freedom for the entire continent. And they invite Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux to drive that point home.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CUMBIA VALIENTE")

ANA TIJOUX: (Rapping in non-English language).

CONTRERAS: And the last track on the album is "La Hora," or "The Hour."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LA HORA")

MONSIEUR PERINE: (Singing in non-English language).

CONTRERAS: This is Santiago Prieto, and it's more in the style of a Mexican corrido, a folk tradition from the U.S.-Mexico border from the early 1900s. It's actually a waltz, and it's a powerful way to end their current musical statement to the world. They call on many traditions, but ultimately make their own very distinct way in a very crowded Latin music landscape.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LA HORA")

MONSIEUR PERINE: (Singing in non-English language).

SHAPIRO: That was Felix Contreras, host of the Alt.Latino podcast. Monsieur Perine's new album, "Bolero Apocaliptico," is out now.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LA HORA")

MONSIEUR PERINE: (Singing in non-English language). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.