El Shirota bare their postpunk soul for our weird times on Tiempos Raros | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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El Shirota bare their postpunk soul for our weird times on Tiempos Raros


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The debut album of Mexico’s El Shirota, Tiempos Raros (“Weird Times”), resonates mightily as the world convulses from the effects of America’s racist violence in the midst of a global pandemic. Founded by lead singer and guitarist Ignacio Gomez in 2013, the band went through several lineup changes before settling on their current configuration in 2018: Gomez, guitarist Ruben Anzaldúa, bassist David Lemus, and drummer Gabriel Mendoza. El Shirota’s smart postpunk melange, with its intentional rawness and volatile edge, connects the dots between Nirvana, Weezer, and the sounds of Mexico City’s rock scene from the 90s till today. Despite the band’s classic indie influences, their sound is unpredictable and fresh; on tunes such as “El Bob Rosendo” they fracture and filter their DIY aesthetic through the prism of Mexico’s distorted, sludgy, slowed-down cumbia and the carefree rebellion of its 60s rock scene. The band’s masterful control of dynamics ensures their songs never become monotonous: on “Más de Una Vez,” growling, yelling, and overdriven guitars alternate with elegant lyricism, while “La Ciudad” trades off punk eruptions and classic-rock grooves, then ends with a cathartic explosion that slides into slinky, psychedelic guitar twang. Over the past few days, I’ve had the hazy earworm “A Donde Voy” in my head. When Gomez sings, “No sé si desperté / Oscuro amaneció / Pero entendí que ayer no estaba igual que a donde voy” (“I don’t know if I woke up / It was dark at dawn / But I understood that yesterday is not the same as where I'm going”), it reminds me that we’re living in a time of more questions than answers.   v

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