Like a ballroom orchestra high on amphetamines, the Los Angeles-based Chicano band Los Lobos conjures up contradictory, even comic, images when it is performing its frantic norteño music--an infectious hybrid of Mexican dance and German polka styles. How Will the Wolf Survive?, the quintet's refreshing debut album, opens with blistering rockabilly, and Cesar Rosas' gravelly vocals on "Don't Worry, Baby," and switches to a sweet country ballad in "A Matter of Time." On the carnival romp of "Corrida #1," David Hidalgo's speedy manipulation of his button accordion produces a euphoric, yodelling effect. Add some full-blooded rock 'n' roll in the style of Bo Diddley, one traditional Mexican party number, "Serenata Norteña," and the musical mosaic is complete. With its energy and stylistic cross-breeding, Los Lobos (The Wolves) run no immediate risk of becoming an endangered species.
Originally published in Maclean's 25 February 1985