Mariachi El Bronx (II) by Mariachi El Bronx
On my desk rests a cup. This cup is home to cold puddle of the finest chai Yorkshire has to offer, a lump of chocolate digestive lost tragically mere minutes ago rests beneath the surface, occasionally fragmenting and reminding me of my snacking failure and I finish off the last of the tea. I gaze across the street. The flat faces of terraces houses stand boorishly in front of the overcast sky sporting no less than 21 different shades of grey; I am firmly planted in England. Or am i? Let me fill your ears for one moment with the music of Mexico. Let me paint a sonic picture of dusty roads, a golden blue sky, tequila, irresponsible pistol usage and beautiful Latino women. Rather, let Mariachi El Bronx do it.
Mariachi El Bronx(II) is the second, rather cunningly named outing from LA's hardcore heroes The Bronx alter ego. There first mariachi album was unexpected, fun and pretty thematic. The second is much of the same fair. This is a good thing. The album kicks off in full form with "48 Roses", an alarmingly catchy track about the problems with having several lovers. Its filled with a urgency and alarm beyond its station. "Great Provider" is filled with a happy, almost cliché sound, but concerns itself with the loss of love. Through this album the lyrics and the music should be conflicting but they don't. They perfectly capture the feel of Mexico, or at least the idealised idea of Mexico. Songs are filled with religious references with constant requests for forgiveness, combined with the manner a tragic line about love ( "everybody wants to be alone, until they are alone" – "Poverty's King") and a general feeling that the band are up to no good creates a feeling of some heartbroken, gun slinging mariachi circa Once Upon a Time in Mexico.
The stand out stacks for me has to be "The Matador" a beautifully heroic and rather laid back affair about the death of a matador. "Bodies of Christ" is a rather sensual track that's another stand out, with aching vocals from front man Matt Caughtran and a lazy riff that paints an image of some sweat and candle lit bedroom.
Technically, the album is great. The variation of styles, compositions and dynamics is a little exploration of mariachi styles. The first album felt very much like a band doing trying to do songs in a mariachi style. This album sounds like a mariachi band.
This album is an album of little victories and tragedies. It feels intimate and genuine. The lyrics never feel like they were looked up in the big book of acceptable (read as expected) pop lyrics. Each song feels like it relates to specific events, they all feel like little stories in themselves. For 46 minutes today I was in the sun enjoying a complex life a roguish and lovelorn musician, stalking the streets of Tia Juana looking for my next adventure. As the final track "Spread Thin" hits its climax, sunset of a guitar solo with pacing drums and dynamic trumpets I'm dumped firmly back home. Oh look, it's raining. I might give it just one more listen.
"Mariachi El Bronx" (featuring Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles)
"Map of the World"
"Bodies of Christ"