The first solo album released by the former frontman of Mano Negra, Clandestino is an enchanting trip through Latin-flavored worldbeat rock, reliant on a potpourri of musical styles from traditional Latin and salsa to dub to rock & roll to French pop to experimental rock to techno. Chao's voice tends to be a bit nasally, but the best songs ("Mentira," "Mama Call," and the silly novelty "Bongo Bong") here benefit from his infectious, freewheeling delivery which incorporates balladry, chorus vocals, rapping, and tossed-off spoken-word passages. Just about every track has odd sampled bits from what sound like pirate radio-station broadcasts (a possible link to the title). There are so many great ideas on this record that it's difficult to digest in one listen, but multiple plays reveal the great depth of Manu Chao's artistry. ~ John Bush
Q (5/99, p.103) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...effecting a succession of tightly edited mini-masterpieces, peppered with ambient cut-ups and spoken snatches, from arcade games, answerphones and sundry beeping banes....There's an abundance of hookline melodies..."
Dirty Linen (6-7/99, p.82) - "...an album that is every bit as innovative as those of his eccentric ethno-punk group's..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.55) - Ranked #92 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "A carnival of global styles, CLANDESTINO also has tunes that celebrate musical and political freedom in four different languages."