Into the New
What the burgeoning rock en español market lacks is the bilingual answer to a band as radio-ready as Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, or Bon Jovi. That’s the contention of Latin pop producer Emilio Estefan, Jr., who signed Austin’s Vallejo as the first rock act on his label. Vallejo has the requisite looks, story (they’re led by brothers A.J., Alex, and Omar Vallejo), and experience (ten years, three albums), and Into the New shows potential. The hooks are heavy, the power ballads are surprisingly sensitive, and the Latin percussion and Santana-inspired workouts are fluid and funky. Though serious chunks are underwritten or repetitive (or both), there’s definite radio potential in tunes like the title track and “Modern Day Slave,” which features a show-stealing cameo from Austin rapper MC Overlord. Yet it’s the songs that flirt most heavily with salsa rhythms, Latin hip-hop, and dual languages that represent Vallejo’s most compelling moments, offering strong enough indications that Into the New might well fulfill Estefan’s dreams of a full-on Latin rock crossover.