Grupo Exterminador: El Hijo de México

[13 October 2005]

By Matt Cibula

Another year, another good, fun and rowdy album from the Corona brothers. These guys have been cranking out norteño records since 1995, and (like the Terminator, who helped inspire their name, or the bullet that weaves its way through their logo) they’re just never going to stop. This is a pretty basic and unpretentious album, so let’s just say it’s good but not amazing, quote some facts, and move along.

Division of labor statistics: Juan sings and plays accordion, José plays bass, Jesús plays drums, Bernardo plays bajo sexto, and ringer Gustavo Pardo plays keys and does the second voice.

Division of tracks: Some ballads, some corridos, several waltzes, and one sanitized rip-off of Grupo Climax’s “Za Za Za (Mesa Que Mas Aplauda)” called “El Baile de Chaca Chaca” where they have little Dianita Corona sing her little corazón out in a silly cause.

Ranking of Grupo Exterminador among current norteño bands, quality-wise: Probably #2 behind Los Tigres del Norte, although you kind of have to factor in Los Tucanes de Tijuana there. Oh, yeah, Palomo, and Bronco, and maybe Grupo Montez de Durango too, if they count, which I guess they do even though they are from Chicago and do that whole durango thing, so if you’re counting them you’d better also count Los Horoscopos de Durango, and man, this list could go on for years.

Specific appeal of Grupo Exterminador in relation to other bands mentioned: Juan Corona’s voice, which is about as rough-to-be-smoove as it gets. Nothing pop-starrish about his vocal attack, not hardly at all; the dude just wails in a very manly way without especially caring about subtlety or depth. Pardo’s backing vocals are also kind of unhinged, so it sounds like they’re drunk half the time, the other half being times where they just sound like they want to beat someone up.

Best track: Not sure. The first single, “Ven”, is pretty good in a low-key syncopated way, but they all are. I kind of like “Infierno y Gloria,” because of the stuttery accordion and Juan’s vocal tone, but mostly because the name is cool as hell. “El Tiro de la Muerte” also has a good title, but “El Paniqueado” is a better title and that track begins with everyone pretending to be drunken major Mexican political figures, including Mexico City’s mayor Andres Manuel López Obrador. So, yeah, that one is the best.

Anything else to say? No, not really. Some of the songs sound the same, but that’s fine because who cares and because they all sound pretty good when it’s 87 degrees outside, and it’s Saturday afternoon but you don’t have anything pressing to do, and you’re drunk. El Híjo de México will not win any prizes for originality or avant-gardiness, but it is a lot of fun for its less-than-37-minutes. So all hail the Corona brothers, and all raise up a bottle of Corona or Ovaltine or something, and get down with these híjos de México.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/grupoexterminador-elhijo/