Quick, name another band whose lineup has been intact for 26 years. Not that easy is it? Not these days, not any days. Los Lobos can claim that distinction. Steve Berlin (sax, keyboards) is the new guy. He joined in 1984. Cesar Rosas (guitar, vocals), David Hidalgo (guitar, violin, accordion, vocals), Louie Perez (guitar, drums, vocals), and Conrad Lozano (bass, vocals) have been together since 1973. Tin Can Trust, their first album of original material in four years, is also their first release for Shout! Factory. The new album features the sound of a band whose members are perfectly comfortable with each other, and remarkably, a band that is still moving forward in new directions.
Seven of the eleven songs on Tin Can Trust were written by the team of Hidalgo and Perez, including the incendiary opener “Burn It Down,” which features a guest vocal appearance from Susan Tedeschi. They also wrote the slow-burning title track, and the stunning stoner groove of “Jupiter or the Moon”, perhaps the best track of its kind since Traffic’s “Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys.” Cesar Rosas gets a chance to shine on the album’s two Spanish language songs, the cumbia “Yo Canto,” and the rollicking norteno “Mujer Ingrata.” There’s also a wonderful cover of the Grateful Dead’s “West L.A. Fadeway,” and if you’re a fan of guitar rock, you can hear it done right on the instrumental “Do the Murray,” and on “All My Bridges Burning.”
The fact that songs in such a variety of styles can not only co-exist, but compliment each other so well is a testament to the power of a band whose members know where they are going, and how to get there. As Louie Perez says, Los Lobos have “an intuitiveness that happens only from being in a band for so long.” The East L.A. band may be heading in new directions, but thankfully they’re getting there old school style, as a group of accomplished musicians playing together in the studio. More than 30 years down the road, Los Lobos have delivered one of their most compelling albums.