Tan Bajo, the latest from San Juan, Puerto Rico’s Davila 666, finds the young band continuing to explore rock’s nether regions with aplomb, improving on their fantastic debut. Modern garage rock lives and dies by its ability to be memorable, to wrench enough substantial melody from the din to warrant repeat listens. Davila 666 understands this, and excel at the sort of instantly likeable, dirty rock and roll they so clearly admire. One needn’t be bilingual to be able to sing along to the refrain of “Los Cruces”—“Ooh-ooh-ooh-OOOH-ooh-ooh-ooh”–an early highlight. Like a snottier, lo-fi Cheap Trick, this is the kind of music the kids in Over The Edge would have been jammin’ had they been wreaking havoc in 2011 Puerto Rico and not 1970s middle America. “Esa Nena Nunca Regreso” is another bonafide hit, featuring an insistent, monotonous verse that leads into a chorus so self-assured and anthemic, it might give Robert Pollard bad dreams. “Noches de Terror,’ another highlight, owes more to The Cramps than just its kitschy title, but the joy with which the band play is palpable enough to hardly notice. Occasionally, the band will try some shoegaze on for size, as on “Si Me Ves” or “De Verdad,” the latter recalling Jesus and Mary Chain circa Barbed Wire Kisses. While these slight departures are interesting and sonically rich, the band’s strength lies in their ability to write infectiously poppy, effortlessly raw punk tunes. Similarly, a baffling hidden track appears to be a cover of a commercial jingle for a kind of chocolate cookie. I don’t speak Spanish and I don’t know the reference, so can’t really comment beyond that, but this goofball addendum does provide further evidence that the boys in Davila 666 certainly seem to know how to enjoy themselves, above all. Tan Bajo is not what’s become fashionably known as “a grower.” The album’s charms are immediately apparent on first listen. With hooks that share a tackle-box with the first three Ramones records, Tan Bajo is one of the year’s best punk ’n’ roll efforts, and one that will hopefully propel this talented band to a place alongside their better-known peers. Muy fuckin’ bueno, dudes. [In The Red]
-James Jackson Toth
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