DIFUNTOS, LOS: Born and Raised in East L.A.: CD

The Good: These kids are well versed in their spaghetti western soundtracks, as evidenced by the bendy guitar nods toward Morricone’s work sprinkled throughout. I even noticed a reference to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” as well. Very, very nice work, there, and as per usual, Michael Rozon’s production is also top tier. The Bad: Squandering all the above on Rancid-inspired psychobilly (yup, you read that right) seems a bit of a waste. I’m really not trying to slag this off, ’cause as it stands, this is notable work for the genre in which they’ve decided to plant their feet and it serves as a nice reminder of how diverse East L.A.’s punk scene can be, but it just seems to me there are innumerable ways this could’ve been a much more amazing piece of work from a band who hails from the same neighborhoods that spawned Thee Undertakers, The Thrusters, Yeska, Misled, and tons of other punk-oriented bands who followed their own muse. I’ll be the first to admit my appreciation for psychobilly as a viable musical avenue waned more than two decades ago and I’ve never thought Rancid was very interesting, and again, what they do they do quite well, so I guess it just comes down to a clash of personal tastes. The Not-So-Ugly: They keep the stereotypical trappings of life in East Los confined to one song, and even there they don’t wallow in lurid gangster posturing, which is probably the part of this experience I liked most.

 –jimmy (Nickel and Dime)