Made in Mexico – Guerillaton

3 out of 5

Produced by: Keith Souza, Seth Manchester

Label: Skin Graft

I can listen to Guerillaton on repeat for literal hours; I can tap my feet along to its staccato beats for that entire duration.  …I can’t tell you much about the songs after the first one, though.

MiM’s first release, Zodiac Zoo, came as a post-Arab on Radar band in the wake of AoR’s demise.  As with that group’s other splinters, Made in Mexico retained some AoR elements, as well as certainly bearing the influence of its other ex-band members.  But there was undeniably one standout aspect: lead singer Rebecca Mitchell’s rattling, uncaged performance, which pushed some repetitive song structures into an overdrive sensation.

And Guerillaton brings that same viciousness out on the opener title track, razor-edged with some new musical focus: a wicked surf-guitar riff and pummeling, rollicking drums.  AoR leftovers no longer: MiM had emerged as their own god-forsaken thing.  While that sense of refresh carries through the rest of the disc – bringing in an odd mix of post-rock and funk, with maybe the slightest humorous dashes of radio-rap – Mitchell and crew try out a new laidback tempo and delivery most of the time.  It sounds great: the production is crisp as Hell and the performances are tight, vs. Mexico’s Radar-esque roughness.  And my initial comment is legit: it’s catchy, toe-tappy, and very listenable, maintaining an edge without burning out your ears.  There are even some acoustic bits.  But – though Mitchell’s range is impressive, going from snarls to sing-song to snarkily trilled R’s – when she’s not in full-fire mode, the tracks’ similarities / repetitiveness become apparent, or rather don’t, as songs blend together.

MiM still produces several frenzies, as on the breathless Remote Control Secrets, or the build up of The Americas, but, y’know, maybe I like ’em better when they’re angry.  Whatever your opinion, the novelty of a Skin Graft band on Guitar Hero is irresistible.