I had some above-average hopes for the second album by these Puerto Rican garage punks based on the excited raves of friends. In reality, Tan Bajo is only slightly more remarkable than similar recordings mining the same vein. Here, Davila 666 is decidedly under-served by tinny lo-fi production, which reduces everything into a flimsy background racket except the ‘60s-influenced vocal melodies, which are without a doubt the most ear-snatching aspect of Tan Bajo, and the group’s greatest virtue. At points on the album you can hear glimmers of the potential collective energy harbored by the group—on tracks like “Mala”, “Patitas”, “Ratata”—which only emphasize that something vital was woefully lost in the transfer to recorded sound. This isn’t complicated music, so power and attitude are key to making such an endeavor anything beyond adequate. I find that I want to like this record more, but with the overall sound lacking in presence and depth, Tan Bajo is by and large mere paint-by-numbers retro garage rock, with a few cuts resembling the Jesus and Mary Chain with the white noise stripped away. Those vocal hooks, though, are irresistible.
// Notes from the Road
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