Mariachi El Bronx, 'Mariachi El Bronx' (Swami)

Critical Mass
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by Mikael Wood

How do you follow three self-titled albums of cranky punk shenanigans? If you're the Bronx, you make a shockingly credible mariachi record. On Mariachi El Bronx, these West Coast bad boys retain their lyrical grit -- one tune is called "Cell Mates" -- but trade the bruisingly metallic Black Flag guitars for the kind of thrumming acoustic arrangements that have long been a part of Southern California's sonic landscape. Vincent Hidalgo, son of Los Lobos singerguitarist David, appears, as do the American Idol strings. (Hey, it's L.A.) Next time: Islamic wedding music?!

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