NEW YORK (Billboard) - With a wink to those who remember the Cure, Blondie and New Order, and a smile to people who love an accessible candy-sweet tune, Mexican electro-pop trio Belanova is releasing its third album, “Fantasia Pop.”
Building on the success of its 2005 effort, “Dulce Beat” — which has sold more than 200,000 copies in Mexico, according to trade group Amprofon, and 60,000 in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan — Universal is releasing “Fantasia Pop” in the States and Latin America the week of September 10.
Instead of the almost yearlong lag between the last album’s Mexico and U.S. releases, the label is “attacking both territories at the same time,” Universal Latino label manager Rafael Eboli said.
“This is a band that’s on a different level now,” Eboli said. “They are very (concentrated) on their international career, and the U.S. is a big part of it.”
That also means a unified West Coast/East Coast strategy, so that stations in the East that are less influenced by Mexican radio playlists aren’t playing catch-up. The band’s new single, “Baila Mi Corazon,” was released in all markets during the last week in July.
“When a single hit the West Coast, we’d be working a different single in the East,” Eboli recalled of Belanova’s last album. “On the East Coast we had to introduce a brand-new band, while the West was moving fast with the singles.”
Five singles later, “Everybody knows who Belanova is and is aware of their success, and we don’t foresee that problem,” he said.
As on its last album, “Fantasia Pop” gift-wraps singer Denisse Guerrero’s childlike vocals and lyrics with energetic synth and bass from programmer/keyboardist Edgar Huerta and bassist Ricardo Arreola.
Producer Cachorro Lopez is also back, fusing the catchy pop hooks with memorable textures, this time with splashes of New Wave and electro-punk, and even a piano ballad with accompaniment from Argentine rock legend Fito Paez.
“It’s another shade of Belanova, and maybe now we feel like using more guitar and more organic sounds,” Huerta said. “It’s part of the maturity you get as a group.”
The Guadalajara act draws inspiration from retro electronica to the Killers and Fischerspooner, applying a more naive, poppy touch. “You can say very profound things in simple language that is within everyone’s reach,” Guerrero said.
The group had a song, “Eres Tu,” on the Latin-American version of last year’s “High School Musical” soundtrack. But MTV Tr3s senior vice president of talent Jesus Lara said the group’s fans span a wide age range.
Belanova’s broad appeal has made its music ripe for licensing. Singles from its two prior albums were used in campaigns for Mitsubishi and Pizza Hut (which featured the band in a commercial scarfing down Cheesy Pops pizza).
In addition, Guerrero will be a spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble’s Wellaton hair color line, with commercials featuring single “Baila Mi Corazon” timed for the album’s release.
The group is gearing up for a tour expected to get under way in February, beginning with the United States and Mexico.