On THIS TIME, the most reliable rock band in the world plays it simple. After two excellent albums of cinematic stylism (1992's KIKO and 1996's COLOSSAL HEAD) and one incredible side project (the Latin Playboys), Los Lobos have moved away from the fluid sonic pastiche they've been cultivating with producers Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake in favor of a more straightforward rock-and-soul sound. The band shifts styles briskly and confidently, from rockers like "Viking" and the Zeppelin-esque "High Places" to reveries like the haunting "Oh Yeah" and warm, Willie Mitchell-styled soul ("This Time"). There's also a good dose of Latin American dance music ("Cumbia Raza" and "Corazon"), as we've come to expect from the Lobos. On THIS TIME, one minute we're in an L.A. bar at 3 a.m. watching the tightest house band on earth, the next we're at a barrio block party on a hazy Sunday afternoon. While maybe not as groundbreaking as their other '90s high points, THIS TIME is a loose, versatile barnburner -- and just as satisfying.