When Los Angeles quintet the Bronx announced it was taking a break from blurring the line between hardcore punk and bar rock and rebranding itself as a mariachi band, fans were either thrilled, bummed or bamboozled. Yet one assumption remained constant: These guys can't be serious, right? The band's answer arrives in the form of Mariachi El Bronx, a side project/opening band who proves its punkness by its stunning stylistic authenticity. It follows in Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" footsteps by melding traditional Mexican instrumentation with rebellious ideals. While diehards of the Bronx may not adore the staccato trumpets and bouncy Latin rhythms of its alter ego, MEB's self-titled debut and matching silver-studded sombreros are the work of a band either pushing a farce to its furthest dimension — or not joking around at all.
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