Once upon a time, in the driest county of México, a band called Zurdok Movimiento changed my perspective of Mexican rock music. With three albums they completely changed my paradigm of music, offering a veritable smorgasbord of influences and styles. We’ll talk about them in detail soon.
Few years down the line, people take different paths and one of the members of Zurdok (Señor Mauricio Terracina) co-produced this album by The Smösh, who come from one of the wettest places in México, the city of Tampico (which was technically my second home for a long time).
I’ll stop mentioning Zurdok‘s name after this sentence, as any similarities between Zurdok and The Smösh begin and finish in ‘Algún Lugar’, the easy going, pop rock ditty that opens this thoroughly enjoyable collection of songs.
Although having a foot clearly planted in the alternative music shore, The Smösh manage to hopscotch between genres and styles, deftly and in a cohesive manner that never loses panache. ‘Tu ventaja’ has that air of nostalgia that sometimes comes when you’re sitting by yourself in the hood of a car, listening to the sea as the sun slowly rises in the horizon. Fret not, rock is near. ‘Bullet Bullet’ has a fantastic bass riff and a post punk attitude that oozes atmosphere (love the Memory Man tricks). ‘El momento’ is a lament for a long lost moment in time, going for some freaky synth freak outs in the dancier bits of the track. This is The Smösh at its strongest: genre-fusion, energetic and with a hand on heart.
There’s ample room for experimentation here. ‘Returning to the moon’ is an amazing instrumental track that serves as both a segue and as a moment of ambient loveliness. ‘Ernie’ does has a few tender moments, even if it seems to be putting up a happy face against the adversities of life. ‘Lullaby for a deaf monster’ feels a bit Brit Pop (that bittersweet ’97 flavour, I think?). It’s a dreamy track and probably the factor that will make you think that this album has two faces, split perfectly by ‘Returning to the moon’.
Let me indulge into a rant: one face is aggressive, rockier and maybe even happy. It goes from ‘Algún lugar’ to ‘El momento’. Then after the instrumental break, we have a more solemn affair, with only the poppier ‘Sebastian’ to pick up the pace.
For years, the main problem in México was the centralisation of, shit, everything! Living anywhere outside the capital meant you had to jump a lot of hoops to get things done. Sadly, this pervaded until recently, when us Mexicans decided to loosen up (a bit). For all the years I spent in Tampico, I knew someone, somewhere, in a garage in Colonia Lomas de Rosales or Fovisste or Unidad Nacional, was playing a different style of rock. Thank God The Smösh’ self-titled album proved that hunch was a fact. Let’s hear it for more bands like this.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López