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Los Amigos Invisibles: Irresistible Party Music

Few bands straddle the lines separating funk, jazz and Latin pop quite like Venezuela's Los Amigos Invisibles. The group formed in the early '90s, at a time when the Latin music charts were dominated by cheesy balladeers and hair bands, and it's released five albums since then, including 2000's Grammy-nominated Arepa 3000: A Venezuelan Journey Into Space.

The quintessential party band, especially live, the group is known for its incredibly energetic and fun performances; even those who lack a sense of rhythm are bound to get up and dance, to an almost embarrassing degree. Los Amigos Invisibles' latest album, Commercial, won the band a "Best Alternative Album" Latin Grammy in 2010, and showcases more of the group's funk-disco sound.

"Vivire Para Ti," one of Los Amigos Invisibles' most popular singles from the album, has an opening riff that recalls the early-'90s acid-jazz and funk of Jamiroquai, coupled with an equally catchy and irresistible chorus. The song features Mexican pop singer-songwriter Natalia Lafourcade (of Natalia y La Forquetina), and is far more earnest and romantic than most of Los Amigos' past work. The band is known for its lusty, oft-explicit lyrics — song titles include "La Vecina," "Cuchi Cuchi" and "El Disco Anal" — and while these songs are crowd-pleasing live, they're also too vulgar for mainstream Latin radio airplay. As its title indicates, Commercial marks the band's attempt to reach an untapped mainstream. Led by songs like "Vivire Para Ti," it also turns out to be a welcome departure for fans.

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Lily Percy