Review: Circular Colectivo by Maldita Vecindad y Los Hijos del Quinto Patio

Gigantic Mexican rockstars Maldita Vecindad are back with their first album in over ten years, and diehard Maldita fans need not worry: it rocks.

The long awaited release is now out in Mexico and was recently picked up by Tomas Cookman's Nacional Records for release in the US and on iTunes, et all. The Mexican ska-sters churn out their signature high-energy ska with smart, politically conscience lyrics and tons of cool touches that make the record sparkle.

"El Paiz de No Pasa Nada" sets the pace for the album with the classic Maldita sound, reminiscent of their biggest hit "Pachuco," the driving snare drum and quick, tight guitar skanks pushing the rest forward. The poetic lyrics about the craziness of modern life come swirling through degenerative delays while Sax adds his signiture horn lines behind the rocking number. Follow it directly with "Quinto Patio Ska" and the Maldita sound is all there. Rocking guitar lines set it all up, and the energy comes right through.

A very cool intro to "Expedientes Marcianos" features dialogue from an old Mexican wrestling movie, with "Santo llamando al Blue Demon" setting up the interplanetary tale of underground resistance. The "alien" theme is continued on the next tune, "Sur del Sur," the coro "Voy a cruzarme hoy" set to a jumping Palo de Mayo rhythm and of course breaking down to the compulsory punk-ska sections. The outro has lead singer Roco spewing a tribute to all the countries of Latin America in a fast-paced montuno that inspires a renewed look at Bolivar's vision of a unified Latin America through the eyes of modern globalization.

"Pura Diversion," the story of the Fút Callejero, is the unofficial theme song of the FIFA Cup of Nations, and my vote is to make it official. Once again Maldita aims at rocking down global capitalism, this time through the good times enjoyed on the soccer field. Fútbol is the one place where the poor man can beat the rich one, el juego del barrio. By the way, "fútbol negocio no es de nosotros, sin comerciales, pura diversion," puts the essence of soccer into just a few poignant words indicative of the band's political outlook.

Overall the sound of the album is solid. The energy and excitement of this raw rock band is not lost in the pristine production and sharp sonic sculpting that Circular Colectivo boasts. All the swirling delays and effects just add to the passion behind Roco's vocals, the bright sparkle of Pato's guitars, and the driving force of the drums. The carefully crafted lyrics and thoughtfulness of the compositions don't detract from the rockingness of the songs. And the songs are not just shallow, pop-punk radio targeted schlock; Maldita has something to say, and not just lyrically. If McCluhan's thesis is correct and the medium really is the message, these guys are doing it right. It's the whole package, the music, the guests, the poetry, all coming together to deliver a powerhouse listening experience.

Veteran fans, rejoice. Newcomers, take notice. Maldita is back and rocking hard.

1 comment

  • valerie Soe
    valerie Soe
    "not just shallow, pop-punk radio targeted schlock" :=)

    "not just shallow, pop-punk radio targeted schlock"


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