Los Macuanos, the seminal Tijuana band whose politicized compositions kickstarted the ruidosón movement, are returning to the darkest corners of our hearts and minds with Epílogo, an album comprised of songs recorded between 2012 and 2016. The first taste of this new age of dark, danceable politics comes in the form of lead single “Soldado Sin Cara,” an epic war cry against Mexico’s military state.
Extending far beyond simple criticism, Los Macuanos generally call into question the hypocritical ideologies of mainstream Mexican culture. In the past, their targets have included the glorification of violence and the drug trade, as well as Mexico’s disturbingly parallel love of Christ and country. On “Soldado Sin Cara,” the band’s ire – and sympathy, to a degree – targets state militarization. The song zeros in on the anger and futility of living in a police state, where common people exist under the boot of oppression while often wearing it. Echoing recent events like the disappearances in Ayotzinapa and the education protests in Oaxaca, the band removes identity from the mobs of servicemen and women, painting them not only as faceless tyrants, but also replaceable cogs in a machine that will not stop to defend its own.
Epílogo, the afterword at the end of a story, defines Los Macuanos’ current musical direction. It’s post-politics, post-preconceived expectations of the group’s worldview and sound. Musically, “Soldado Sin Cara” is straightforward and aggressive industrial, far removed from the ironic goth cumbia and corrido send-ups we’re used to enjoying from the band. But we’re living in a different world now, a totally different climate than 2013, when their last album El Origen was released. This new world is post-facts and reason, and irony no longer cuts it. Los Macuanos are ahead of the curve here, focused less on the bullshit and more on the longevity of this unsustainable system. How much longer can we all live in a consequence-free reality where the majority freely accepts subjugation?