TIJUANA BULLFIGHT: Southern California: CD

Here’s a riddle. If a band sounds almost exactly like another band, should anybody care? It’s a question I’ve wrestled with a lot. Riverdales’ songs are Ramones’ songs. It’s impossible to deny, but the songwriting is so good that you can ignore the question of it being derivative. It’s about heart and homage. Tijuana Bullfight ape Nirvana to the point of influence be damned, this is like Kurt Cobain’s lost fourth album where they decided to embrace sludge metal just a teeny bit more. (I will now politely ignore the question of why they sent this to Razorcake, and just came at this from the view point of, “Man, I really like Nirvana.”) The record has the capability to be engaging, which makes the tracks where they rely too much on repetition and insubstantial riffing all the more disappointing. (Take these masterpiece lyrics for example: “Shout it from your heart! Yeah, yeah, yeah, I want to live, live, live, yeah! Live, live, live, I want to!”) When they don’t use cheap filler lyrics and approach the songs with the heaviness of Nirvana’s Insecticide, the record sparkles. There’s also a Psychedelic Furs cover, if you care about that sort of thing. Grade: B-. 

 –todd (Tinderbox)