Mariachi El Bronx – III


Artist

Album

III

Label

Cooking Vinyl

Year

2014

Genre

For Fans Of

José Alfredo Jiménez

Summary

The word "mariachi" is used a lot in this review.

Rating

86 / 100

Surely we have all come to expect the surprise by now, the surprise that punk rockers The Bronx are actually amazing musicians capable of transcending genres with ease. This was of course proven when they became Mariachi El Bronx, and made what is essentially perfect mariachi music, not as a joke, for real. They are on their third album for crying out loud so even if we thought they were just fooling around we know that they are legit about it all.

Now, let’s be honest, most don’t keep up with the mariachi scene, we’re sure there are far better and more traditional mariachi bands on offer for arguments sake, but the fact that these guys crush it as a punk rock band and can also sound like a Mexican summer holiday is enough for us.

Operating on this limited knowledge of mariachi, it would be hard to compare The Bronx with classic mariachi artists such as José Alfredo Jiménez (I googled it), so comparisons will be kept mainly to the past Mariachi El Bronx albums to which most heavy fans are well versed in as they have played as the soundtrack to many a Mexican dinner party.

The group pick up where the last few albums left off in the beginning of opening track, New Beat, however at the half way point the song toys with an element that will serve as a point of difference between the new and old records. The inclusion of synths, sequences and even an ARP gives the band’s classic sound a modern twist, be it ever so slight, it may well be the most futuristic modern advancement that mariachi has ever seen.*

This idea progresses and becomes more prevalent as the record rolls on and changes the vibe. Sticks and Stones is a good example, kicking off with a synth and melody line that could almost be and indie-dance sample, which continues to play on through the song in complete juxtaposition to the mariachi surrounding it. Eternal has a far more atmospheric feel about it, rolling fuzz synths topped off with beautifully finger-picked guitar and subtle vocal lines while ‘Everything Twice’ takes an almost country like spin on the mariachi sound.

The record closes with Valya, a bright little number with tweaks on sincerity and romance that ends the affair with a horn laden, melody heavy ditty for the lovers.

*In no way confirmed.

Conclusion

Mariachi El Bronx have included a range of interesting little surprises on ‘III’ that steer their ship away from the stale replication of past ideas and offer up another ten songs that all of us who barely ever listen to mariachi music will thoroughly enjoy.

Tracklisting

1. New Beat

2. Wildfires

3. Sticks and Stones

4. High Tide

5. Nothing’s Changed

6. Eternal

7. Raise The Dead

8. Everything Twice

9. Right Between The Eyes

10. Valya

 

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