Just when rock music was starting to feel stale, a new generation of guitar-wielding youths are starting to deliver three-chord sets with primal drum bashing, giving roomfuls of kids a soundtrack to go nuts on the dance floor. This revival (the fourth or fifth of its kind since the ‘50s) has yielded some great music that recalls the genre’s original execution and vision with brand new enthusiasm.
It has specifically taken root in Latin America, producing a wave of stellar artists from across the region. With their new self-titled EP, Mexico’s El Shirota are giving us more than their take on raw rock ‘n’ roll. El Shirota is a four-song collection that could herald a new era of rock – and it doesn’t sacrifice the elements that define the genre.
Recorded three years after their debut short-length work Chiluca No Es Satélite, the band has since played a diversity of venues, including a triumphant set at this year’s Festival Marvin. Produced by Hugo Quezada of Exploded View and Robota at his own studio Progreso Nacional, El Shirota marks a firm step forward for the band. Chiluca relied on established forms and more traditional arrangement to great effect, but this new set of original material takes a bunch of left turns that keeps listeners on the edge of their seats.
El Shirota’s foundation is noisy garage rock with plenty of fuzzy guitars, off-key screaming, and caveman drumming, yet they keep everything fresh by injecting obscure references to krautrock and post-punk. Opening number “No Quiero” is the longest cut of the bunch, a piece that starts like an alterna-psych mid-tempo track with plenty of clashing guitars and angular edges. Then it picks up speed and aggression for the verse, while the last section uses decreasing levels of noise and texture to produce something a little calmer. Lead single “Listo (El Tornillo)” is an immediate contrast to this sound; it’s a straight and catchy garage punk fest of a track that will make you want to set your couch on fire.
The third track is called “Intro,” and it could be an homage to Suicide had the repetitive bass riff been played on synths. There are some wailing guitars that give way to full-on walls of noise, gradually building a punk tempo. The last song, “Saqué Siete,” is another rager, but features enough subtle, odd elements to make it sound alien to blues-based rock. Rapid-fire vocals give way to a wordless chorus worthy of Devo. There’s enough straight rock ‘n’ roll on this EP for all the purists in the genre to rejoice. With so many ideas packed into such a short period of time, every listen will reveal something new and powerful about these songs.
In addition to the new EP, El Shirota have shared mind-warping video for “Intro,” featuring optical illusions and glitchy VHS visuals. Watch the clip below:
El Shirota’s self-titled EP is available now on Spotify, Google Play, and Apple Music.