First there was Alt Rock, then Alt Country, and now we find ourselves with Alt Latin. What next? Alt Hip-hop? Mezklah hails from Los Angeles, center of all thing Latin in America, and comes squarely from the mariachi, salsa and Spanglish axis, but they’ve clearly spent some dinero in the electronic club scene. Title cut “Spider Monkey” flashes that groove with harsh and nearly danceable sounds supporting the mysterious lyrics “right of passage.” Later, we visit a much more traditional sound with “Queiro Cocido”, which my limited Spanish skills tells me means… well, Google doesn’t know either… “Fogata” features a very traditional classical guitar, with sharp percussion and a spare brass line, followed by a nearly hip hop sounding vocal track. The more I listen, the more I like these guys.
Overall, there’s a certain intellectual jazz angle to the Mezklah sound. It’s pleasant enough, but seems to invite thought and discussion rather than dancing and romance. One foot in Kraftwerk, one foot in Ricky Ricardo, it shows that there’s more to Latin music than those endless mariachis in cheesy sombreros that infest Sabado Gigante.