What do you get when an L.A.-grown hardcore punk band decides to immerse themselves in the sounds of Mexico? Mariachi El Bronx's stellar El Bronx is what. Had any other band tried to go from punk to mariachi in one easy step, chances are they would have stumbled, at best. El Bronx, though, take the change completely in their stride.
Back in March 2008, when the Bronx announced their intention to produce a mariachi album (alongside a more typical punk record), one might have been hard pressed to imagine that they were being serious. From their pounding, take-no-prisoners self-titled debut through their two successive (also self-titled) studio albums, it all seems completely counter to the lilting, melodic style of mariachi.
Take lead singer Matt Caughthran: On the Bronx's albums, he roars into the mic sounding like he eats lead for breakfast and washes it down with a cup of hot tar. When he dons his silver-studded charro outfit, though, everything changes. Gone are the dulcet growls, replaced by a charming, saccharin warble.
Is Mariachi the new punk? Perhaps not, but given the adroit with which El Bronx play, it certainly could be.
- Mariachi El Bronx