Mincing words comes easily for some. For others, it seems like a waste of collective time and space.
Malportado Kids fall into the latter.
On Total Cultura, the group’s latest release, the words cannot be ignored even amongst the most frantic and involved grooves.
The group’s provocative, heady take on everything from white supremacy to economic inequality to the never-ending stream of complacent pop filler is as much a part of their music as the horns and synths that drive their music forward.
You don’t have to look much further than the seemingly playful “1492 Overture” which makes use of the motif from Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” You can imagine Napoleon sipping on a cappucino at the newly gentrified café around the corner; Columbus is late but he discovers it eventually.
The album showcases how their style of Cumbia-inspired dance-punk can take various forms, rather than showing the boundaries of what many would consider a fusion genre.
The warped lead riff in “Bruja Cosmica” soon gives way to a staggering bass line. I can’t imagine standing still during a live performance.
Fist pumper “Basta Huedo” is an album highlight with its driving bass and catchy horn line.
Victoria Ruiz’s vocals are passionate while inviting the listener to come raise some proverbial hell with them.
The blending and blurring of identity is another central theme. This is evidenced as she switches between Spanish and English without notice. Guitarist Joey DeFrancesco says in an interview with Shotgun Seamstress that “e often fall into this trap of dividing culture from everyday life, as if culture is something that stops at the gallery door or the stage.”
Ending with a cover of the Boss’s “I’m on Fire” is a deliberate attempt to highlight this idea (Ruiz and DeFrancesco’s other band, Downtown Boys, also call on Springsteen to end their latest album, interestingly).
MK are not here to tell you that parties and intercourse aren’t worthy subjects to sing about, but you should go to a rally the next day or something.
Total Cultura ensures that the real talk of the day has an equally real soundtrack.
Order the 10” LP here.