Punk-rockers The Bronx’ decision to make a mariachi side project took us all by surprise, and while their second album as such may not be full of curve-balls, it’s still a thoroughly enjoyable record.
’48 Roses’ introduces the album, and shows off Mariachi El Bronx’ surprisingly good lyrical knack: ‘So father forgive my cold shoulder / I just don’t have the time to console her / I’ll fall back in love when I’m older.’ Featuring what has become their secondary trademark - violins, trumpets, clippy cloppy percussion etc - it’s an epic introduction, and one of those rare songs that would fit happily on the new Three Musketeers movie soundtrack.
‘Revolution Girls’ is another standout. Almost every track on this album is catchy as hell; it makes you wonder there isn’t more music like this reaching chart peaks both sides of the Atlantic.
At the album’s core is the confusingly titled ‘Mariachi El Bronx’, bringing album, artist and track name into sync. Featuring America’s first all female mariachi ensemble Mariachi Reyna De Los Angeles, it’s a fully instrumental number and, for those who may not have listened to mariachi before, a suitable introduction into the genre.
The one frustrating aspect of this album is its reluctance to break the mariachi mould. Generally it is uncompromising genres that fizzle out, as a lack of experimentation makes for a lack of excitement on the listeners’ part. Mariachi has most likely become a specialist genre because it doesn’t mix easily with others. Synth-mariachi? Nope. Post-mariachi? Doubt it. Mariachronica? Definitely not. But while their musical stylings haven’t changed much, there is a sense that they have polished off the less rounded finishes of their debut. Now if only Beirut could make a heavy metal album our lives would be complete.
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