Review by: Lana Harris
Another offering from hardcore punk band The Bronx’s alter ego, proving that having a split (band) personality can work wonders for some. The Bronx have put together their second album of mariachi music and done so with talent, substance and merit.
The collection of alternately ecstatic, unrequited, thwarted and polygamous love songs is the second south-of-the-border offering from Mariachi El Bronx, whose efforts last time failed to influence teens sulking in Queen Street Mall into ditching punk stylings in favour of Mexican folkloric apparel. This one probably won’t either, but the reputation of the band combined with songs that are sufficiently complex and varied may see people who wouldn’t normally touch an album of mariachi music with a ten foot donkey’s tail enticed into repeat listenings.
Track 1 is flamboyant and up tempo, with the instrumental accompaniments mimicking the vocal lines like back up singers. It’s also the funniest track, the title ’48 Roses’ referring to the dozen roses for each of the singer’s four lovers that he is simultaneously juggling. ‘Great Provider’ is slightly more subdued, with lyrics focusing on abandonment, but with a wisdom in the words that is also repeated in songs such as ‘Poverty’s King’, which has the insightful refrain in ‘Everyone wants to be alone, until they are alone.‘ ‘Everything Dies’ is as melancholic as its title, with sincerely heartfelt vocal tones sculpting this into a beautiful song.
II uses a variety of instruments in different combinations throughout the album to give each song a distinctive sound and to keep the album interesting. The paradox of punk to mariachi music suggests parody and the brief amusement this can provide without requiring any underlying substance, but II pleasantly surprises.