steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Cha Cha Mancha" CD


Genres: electronic pop, indie pop, dream pop

Dec 6 - 12 2004

Sancho brings us a strong collection of electronics-heavy pop songs, most with vocals, though occasionally instrumental.  Principal songwriter Paul Hanford fares best when working with singing, although the wordless parts of Cha Cha Mancha are also surprisingly listenable.

Luxurious, elaborate pop music is the name of the game on this Sancho disc, and it goes a long way in making this an unconventionally listenable experience.  Many of the songs have a creatively sparse, eclectic sound, but a general tunefulness and an eye for melody keep them from becoming boring.  Even "Boscombe," an instrumental electronic piece, is made catchy by some tremendously satisfying atmospheric effects and a deep, buried melody.  But the real fun lies in the songs with singing -  "Ball O'String" is mystical and layered, with a strong vocal part, while "Coach on Fire" is dreamily beautiful.  

Cha Cha Mancha is a very inventive pop album that manages to take liberties without regressing into inaccessibility.  Sancho have really created something beautiful here, proving that artful sound and strong melody really can go together.


Fun Fact: Sancho's last release, under the guise of Sancho Panza, was a limited edition seven-inch record, each copy boasting a uniquely painted cover.

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 10 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]