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Mariachi El Bronx - El Bronx

Mariachi El Bronx, El Bronx

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

ACCORDING to Mariachi El Bronx’s Matt, the latest incarnation of the punk-rock outfit “was probably conceived in August of 2006 in Los Angeles’ infamous ‘Downtown Rehearsals’.

“It all started as a way to flip the electric goes acoustic performance garbage, because that’s never good,” he explained. “We were invited to play live on television but decided that a cheesy acoustic version of our song was not what we wanted to do.”

Hence, punk rockers The Bronx came over all Mariachi and, with the help of Zander Schloss (Wierdos, Circle Jerks) on guitarron and Keith Douglas (Mad Caddies) on trumpet they surprised the world with their radical new direction.

“That project triggered something inside all of us that was unexpected,” continued Matt. “It’s almost impossible to explain but it felt like discovering a second soul within you. We instantly started writing new songs.

“The body of this record was written all over the world. As the Bronx played, El Bronx wrote.”

The result, El Bronx, is a mini-masterpiece that combines many facets of mariachi music, the most well know being Norteno as well as jorocho, wasteka, bolero and corridos.

Alfredo Ortiz (Beastie Boys/Money Mark) plays percussion, an unnamed string quartet did El Bronx “a solid” without giving their names, and Vincent Hidalgo, son of David Hidalgo (Los Lobos, Latin Playboys) performed accordion on the album.

It’s a real charmer, packed with great songs. Opening track and former single Cell Mates kicks things off in splended fashion, with a blast of trumpets, and a vibrant percussion, it sets the mood perfectly.

Litigation weaves acoustic guitars and mandolin licks around brass and sounds like something that could have been taken from Elmer Burnstein’s Magnificent Seven soundtrack, and Sleepwalking is a laidback delight that combines an addictive percussion with some lovely guitar work and some reflective lyrics.

The party atmosphere returns on the lively brass stomp of Silver Or Lead, while Clown Powder benefits from its endearing stop-start stomp of guitar licks and trumpets, whilst painting a stark picture of LA life.

Holy opens with a quite majestic instrumental that’s deeply cinematic and extremely assured (even reminiscent of The Shadows), while My Love ends things on a romantic note that sends you off with a genuinely warm glow.

In summing up the inspirations behind the album, Matt states: “We very much enjoyed making this album, and we hope that you receive the same enjoyment out of listening.”

That’s pretty much a given. El Bronx is an exemplary listen. Don’t miss out.

Download picks: Cell Mates, Litigation, My Love, Holy, Sleepwalking, Clown Powder

Track listing:

  1. Cell Mates
  2. Litigation
  3. Despretador
  4. Quinceniera
  5. Silver Or Lead
  6. Sleepwalking
  7. Slave Labor
  8. Clown Powder
  9. Holy
  10. My Brother The Gun
  11. My Love