BRUJAS, CHOLAS E INVENTATAS: ALBUM REVIEW
The Q is making a full pivot to being a punk zine, spurred by a fantastic album by the band HURAÑA. Released on the Iron Lung record label, HURAÑA’s newest 7” titled “Brujas, Cholas E Inventatas” hits you right in the face with aggression. Although the band uses many traditional punk elements, the structure and feel of the songs are completely alien. It’s six straight tracks of face-melting Punk that acts as a Perfect Palate cleanser to start the month.
Hailing from Chipas, a southern Mexican state that borders Guatemala, HURAÑA don’t come from an area known globally for its punk scene. Chipas is home to one of the largest indigenous populations in Mexico and the political implications of that fact are felt throughout the album. With song titles such as “Falsos Amigxs” and “Calamidad” which roughly translate to “fake friends” and “calamity,” it’s immediately clear that HURAÑA are here to fight. The entire project sounds as if it was recorded in an underground warehouse, always about to collapse in on itself.
The first thing you’ll notice about “Brujas, Cholas E Inventadas” is that the vocals are delayed beyond recognition. A single vocal line will echo on for multiple seconds as words become more and more abstract. The vocals wash over your ears as they feel completely divorced from the rest of the music. Their tone rises and falls with the guitars but they never exactly seem to line up. As soon as you start getting used to one track, it’s on to the next one.
In typical punk fashion, no song on “Brujas, Cholas E Inventatas” is over two minutes. Most hover a little above the one-minute mark, and they certainly make their point with that time. The song “Calamidad” starts with the guitars mid-riff and the drums pounding away. There is no build-up, it’s just a minute of face-melting craziness. From what I can hear there are few lyrics to the track, it begins only with the shouted vocals of the lead singer. Even these vocals begin to blend together after the first 10 seconds of the song and the entire track becomes a slowly breathing frenzy of sound and emotion.
“Brujas, Cholas E Inventatas” is not HURAÑA’s first project: two years ago they released a demo tape, however, they may be the only band I’ve ever heard where their demo tape sounds cleaner than their debut album. On their demo tape, HURAÑA sounded like any other punk band: talented and exciting, but not weird. “Brujas, Cholas E Inventatas” is definitely a weird project. It’s not explicitly experimental, it doesn’t push the listener out of their comfort zone, but something about it feels a little bit odd.
This oddity is best exemplified in the standout track “Mi Ggeneración.” Around 40 seconds in the vocals stop and the lead guitarist comes through with a beautifully clear solo. It is as if the clouds are parting to make room for a single ray of light in an otherwise hazy album. Ten seconds later, the solo is over and we are back to the pounding of the rest of the project.
“Brujas, Cholas E Inventatas” is the most fun 7 minutes of music I have heard in a long time. It bashes you upside the head until you are forced to appreciate what HURAÑA is doing as a group. With this project, they have proven that they are certainly a band to watch in the future.