If you went to a lot of shows at defunct Bridgeport punk house Rancho Huevos, you likely caught the July 2019 debut performance of south-side underground supergroup Canal Irreal. The band, whose name means “unreal channel” in Spanish, features members of razacore outfit Sin Orden (who emerged in a second wave of local Latinx punk bands in the late 1990s), guitarist Scott Plant of oddball postpunk unit Droids Blood, and longtime DIY punk linchpin Martin Sorrondeguy, best known as the fearless front man of radical Spanish-language hardcore champions Los Crudos and queercore evangelists Limp Wrist.
Almost two years after their first show, Canal Irreal have dropped their self-titled debut through Beach Impediment Records from Richmond, Virginia. This sinewy sprint of an album plants its flag in the contested territory between grim, cold postpunk and white-hot hardcore fury. On “Glaze,” an austere bass line seems to summon icy guitars that act as foils to Sorrondeguy’s sawtooth screams; Canal Irreal can create tension that makes you want to jump out of your skin, so it’s a relief when when they crank up the chorus into a warm wall of sound. The quicksilver hardcore stomp of “Si Somos” and the brisk goth melody of “Knockdown” summon complex emotions with aggressive sounds, and make Canal Irreal ideal for repeat listening. v