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AU59: Mariachi El Bronx album review

October 13, 2009

mariachi el bronx

MARIACHI EL BRONX
EL BRONX
WICHITA

Nope, this is not a wind-up, and nor is it a joke on the part of its creators. In the last couple of years, LA hardcore fiends The Bronx have taken to donning traditional Mexican regalia and performing as a mariachi band, and this album is the result of that love affair. Growing up in largely Hispanic neighbourhoods, the band members have been immersed in the style their whole lives, and the album even features Vincent Hidalgo, childhood friend of frontman Matt Caughthran and the son of Los Lobos star David Hidalgo. So, you know they are for real.

As for the music, you’ll forgive us if we’re short on reference points, mariachi being something of an AU blind spot, but the album has much to recommend it. Speaking to AU last year, guitarist Joby Ford proclaimed it “the most beautiful music we’ve ever created” and he’s not wrong. It’s lovingly produced and played with real joy and verve, while the songwriting is strong – full of romance and intrigue – and Caughthran’s throaty croon is a revelation. You have to wonder who it is for, but record sales clearly aren’t the point – El Bronx’s audience may be mainly made up of slightly bemused hardcore punk fans, but the fun that the band obviously had in creating it is probably its own reward.

7/10

DOWNLOAD: ‘SLEEPWALKING’, ‘SILVER OR LEAD’, ‘CLOWN POWDER’.
FOR FANS OF: THE BRONX, ER… MARIACHI MUSIC.

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