Coinciding with their homeland’s recent emergence from war and a punishing military dictatorship into a democratic society, the debut album by guitarist/vocalist Gustavo Cerati, bassist Zeta Bosio and drummer Charly Alberti is a hearty stab at escapism and very much a record of its time (new wave, ska, the Cure, the Police, XTC and other early ‘80s signifiers are all referenced). But that spirited approach is what keeps the album from becoming hopelessly dated. Of course, top-notch songwriting never hurts your cause and the album isn’t lacking in that department: “Sobredosis de TV”, “Te Hacen Faltas Vitaminas”, “Un Misil en Mi Placard”, “El Tiempo es Dinero” and “Afrodisíacos”, all helped the album become a smash hit and a critical favorite.
Those more familiar with Soda’s latter, more refined international releases—their third album, Signos [Sony US Latin-1987], was the first to be released in the US—might ask if the debut platter bears the seeds of the influential, ground-breaking band they were to become. Well, it’s quite a stretch from typical, albeit talented, ‘80s new wave-influenced combo to panoramic, sonic-exploring, 21st century rockers slightly ahead of the curve. But let’s just say a sophomore slump would’ve been a surprise. And that 30 years later, this one still holds up.
Highlights: see above.