August 17, 2011

Mariachi El Bronx | Mariachi El Bronx (II)

ARTIST:  Mariachi El Bronx 
TITLE:  Mariachi El Bronx (II) 
REVIEW:  The Bronx is a punk-rock band from Los Angeles.  Somewhat inexplicably they started a mariachi side project called Mariachi El Bronx in 2006; this is the side project’s second album. For me that’s a pretty unpromising back story, but there’s a reason you listen to the music and not just read the press kit -- this is a damn good album.  The music is faster, more driving and generally more rocking than most mariachi (lyrics are 99% in English, if that’s of interest to you); the band makes a brief, successful detour into Tex-Mex norteno music a la the Sir Douglas Quintet on track 5 as well.  Singer/lyricist Matt Caughthran seems to be channeling the emo side of his personality here, which is totally appropriate -- after all, there’s no music more emo than mariachi.  I have no idea how this stuff plays with The Bronx’s core audience or what the marketing angle is for a band with this kind of split personality, but none of that matters when you’re listening to them.  Anyone who likes roots-rock with a little ethnic sabor will get a giant kick out of this fine release.  
TOP TRACKS:    1    3    5    6 
ALSO RECOMMENDED:    2    7    8    9    11

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