With only two albums to its name, CafÉ Quijano has already established a singular sound—a mix of surf-rock guitars, ridiculously wonderful melodies, and cinematic lyrics that make albums

With only two albums to its name, Café Quijano has already established a singular sound—a mix of surf-rock guitars, ridiculously wonderful melodies, and cinematic lyrics that make albums sound like a collection of short stories. On La Taberna del Buda, the band sticks to this sound, even as it incorporates the slightest touch of calypso, bossa nova, and salsa. Ironically, the consistency works against them, and several listens later, you're wondering if the song you loved was track one, track two, or track three. Café Quijano compensates with musicality—the piano solo at the end of "Otra Vez," the fine vocal harmonies of "En Aquel Hotel Jamaicano"—but even a contrast in tempos, not to mention arrangements, would have gone a long way here. Still, there's no denying a collection of great songs. Any of these could be your favorite for the year.—LC