Release Date: Mar 1, 2011
Record label: In the Red Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Garage Punk, Garage Rock Revival
Davila 666 have changed nothing since the release of their 2008 self-titled album. On 2011’s Tan Bajo, the Puerto Rican garage rockers sound just as snotty, just as loose, and just as fun and wild as they did on their debut. The six members of the band whip up an impressive storm of noise built of guitars, drums, cheap organ, and vocals (all sung in Spanish) that can only be called enthusiastic.
For the right kind of fuzzed-out rock band, gaining a bigger audience doesn't have to mean leaving the garage. Sure, these days plenty of lo-fi acts-- from Wavves to Dum Dum Girls to Cloud Nothings-- have left the scuzzy sonics behind, as Pitchfork contributor Martin Douglas recently noted over at Passion of the Weiss. And it definitely works when, say, Smith Westerns embrace swooning Britpop balladry, because those Chicago glam-brats' songs already had a certain teen-dream sweetness to them.
It might be considered sacreligious in some Catholic regions of the world to line up a beer bottle next to a prayer candle like the members of Davila 666 do on the cover of Tan Bajo, but after listening to the album a few times over and grasping their general anarchic aesthetic, I’m convinced that they couldn’t care less. In fact, they probably revel in pissing Catholics off. That twisted album cover is ideal advertising for the product within -- bare bones lo-fi garage pop to soundtrack your swigs of illegal Four Loko, direct from the ghettos of Puerto Rico--but it’s not entirely honest.
I had some above-average hopes for the second album by these Puerto Rican garage punks based on the excited raves of friends. In reality, Tan Bajo is only slightly more remarkable than similar recordings mining the same vein. Here, Davila 666 is decidedly under-served by tinny lo-fi production, which reduces everything into a flimsy background racket except the ‘60s-influenced vocal melodies, which are without a doubt the most ear-snatching aspect of Tan Bajo, and the group’s greatest virtue.