The pretensions of Rene Lopez's E.L.S. are hard to swallow. The album's title stands for "Electric Latin Soul," which the native New Yorker considers his own signature sound. But his is pop music drenched in Latin jazz, R&B, hip-hop, and rock, a sound not foreign to local clubs like Luna and Bar De España, and even more abundant in Austin. That said, Lopez's latest shouldn't be dismissed either. E.L.S. takes the Beck approach to pop, making sure the styles blur and that the textures sound dragged-and-dropped as opposed to tuned-up and rocked-out. Add a heavy dose of goofball swagger and you've got "Feeling Something Good," Lopez's spiritual successor to "La Bamba." Similarly, "Fa La La De Fa La" borrows the sunny day, walking music of Sublime's "Doin' Time," before spiraling into a rocket-propelled "Black Magic Woman"-style outro. Lopez is in a fortunate creative stage where all of his weird ideas work, as on the disco banger "L2 The Boogaloo." He raps hokily about his Brazilian drug dealer and not being a hipster (so very true), sounding less like Vanilla Ice and more like Debbie Harry. His sound is not new, but the smooth eclecticism satisfies.
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