Los Lobos : Kiko 20th Anniversary Edition

Written by Jamie Lee

October 2, 2012

A cameo appearance and a handful of Richie Valens covers for the soundtrack of the 1987 film La Bamba gave Los Lobos nationwide exposure, but for the underground roots merchants from East Los Angeles, their creative potential was fully realized on 1992’s Kiko.

Twenty years later, and the album still sounds as fresh and relevant as it did upon its release, the experimental threads that tie together the album’s 16 tracks expanding and contracting to the dance of traditional Spanish and Mexican rhythms. The infectious guitar riff of “Dream in Blue,” the pseudo-electronic rhythm of “Angels with Dirty Faces,” and the jellyfish swim of  “Kiko and the Lavender Moon” define the band’s new direction, and together with the heartbreaking “When the Circus Comes to Town,” make this one of the best rock-and-roll albums of the past two decades.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary,  the album been remastered and released with five bonus tracks – demos and live cuts of songs from the album – giving it a 21st century polish. But Kiko is further documented in the release of a CD and DVD version of a 2006 performance of the album – dubbed Kiko Live -at the House of Blues in San Diego. The 20th Anniversary Edition and live releases document and celebrate a truly timeless album.

The band – whose name is Spanish for The Wolves – asked on its 1984 release of the same name, “How Will the Wolf Survive?” The answer is with stellar playing, creative songcraft, and groundbreaking albums. Kiko remains Los Lobos’ best release, one that continues to define their still-growing legacy.

Kiko 20th Anniversary Edition and Kiko Live (on CD and DVD/Blu-ray) are out now on Shout! Factory.