It’s often difficult to liven up a seemingly bleak, cold Autumn evening; I usually find myself slouching, gazing miserably at my backlog of work and hoping the time will come when I put an end to my futile procrastination. My playlists seem to be occupied by dirgy music like Athlete’s Wires, yet these past weeks I’ve found myself enthralled by a previously unbeknown phenomenon, Mariachi El Bronx.
Before the Reading and Leeds Festivals, I wanted to widen my repertoire of interesting bands, and they certainly fit the bill. I listened through unbearable single after single of bands I’d never heard of, yet after weeding through swathes of complete nonsense, I finally came across Mariachi El Bronx. After listening to popular hits “Cell Mates” and “Litigation”, I decided that their eponymous first album was worth a listen, and boy was that one of my better decisions.
Right from the off, this band tell you exactly what they’re about, “Cell Mates” grabs your attention right from the start with a wonderful collaboration of horns, strings and guitars, and kicks off what is to be a spectacular work of art. The natural, bouncy rhythm is sure to get your head nodding and the sheer diversity of timbre is enough to keep you entertained. “Litigation” follows suit, although arguably not as much of a memorable tune as the previous song, it maintains the vibe and comprises another array of ear-pleasing melodies. The proceeding two songs seem to alter rhythmically ever so slightly, seeming to conform more to a ¾ time signature (for those of you who understand your musical notation). My stand out moment from those songs is some beautiful, intricate guitar playing in the middle section of “Despretador”. The plethora of upbeat melodies and well suited inter-instrumental harmonies that ensues is just joyful. My favourite song on the album, “Silver or Lead”, conjures up images of contented Latin-American dancers capering about, and sounds suspiciously similar to a song in the Gymnastics floor events at the Athens 2004 Olympics (I have a very selective memory).
“Slave Labor” and “Clown Powder” maintain the class of the album, but for me, the album tails off by the penultimate or anti-penultimate tune. “Holy” and “My Brother the Gun” are both good songs, it’s just that by the time I’ve listened through all of my favourites, I just want to get back to listening to them again! But that’s the only fault I can find in the whole album; it’s unique, it’s entertaining, it ‘s catchy, instrumentally and melodically it’s bordering revolutionary (maybe I just think that because I never listen to Mariachi music) and, most importantly, it doesn’t get boring after you listen to it – I’m on fourteen plays through the album and still going strong!
It’s almost impossible not to like this band, even if you don’t enjoy the music, the spirit and sense of fraternity is difficult to fault. Despite this being my first article, I hope that I’ve articulated that I really, really like this album, and I thoroughly recommend it to ANYONE, even if you, like me, completely deny that you’re prone to enjoying any slightly culturally diverse music, try it. You won’t regret your decision. Jack Alexander