Delhotel Records, México
By Blanca Méndez
“Praise the goddess and pass the lube.” This is how Piyama Party’s latest EP, Michael esta vivo, starts and how I know it’s going to be a good time. Not that I expected otherwise, given that last year’s Mas Mejor was one of my favorite rock albums in recent memory. The band’s playful DIY style even inspired the theme of the soon-to-come 10th volume of Fonogramaticos with their anthemic “Nosotros Los Rockers.” Michael esta vivo isn’t as overtly rock and roll as its predecessor, but it is equally witty and charming.
The appropriately fuzzy “Mal Porno,” opens the album with a lo-fi attitude that evokes the shoddy camera work of comically amateur home movies, perfect for a song about outdated porn on VHS, featuring girls in out-of-style lingerie. Also in the same vein is the slightly scatterbrained garage rock tune in which the band asks the late King of Pop, “Por que te hiciste blanco?” For “Historias feas” the band leaves the garage and heads to the rodeo for a twangy western of a tune about the border and horror stories warning people not to travel to those parts because it’s not worth the risk just to go the mall for some T-shirts.
Piyama Party’s trademark humor is best showcased on “Canciones que me hacen sentir guapo,” a song about exactly what it sounds like it’s about. When I heard the first part of the song and how it’s hard being modest when you look so good I couldn’t help but think, mamones! Then came the line “yo te entiendo si piensas que soy mamon,” and it was perfect. “Rapera,” featuring the band’s fellow Coahuilense Pipe Llorens, is the classic tale of Rocker Dude falling in love with Rapper Chick. In between Pipe’s verses, the song is surprisingly and pleasantly soft. And the bird chirping around the time that Pipe calls his rapper love “mi pajarita” is one of the highlights of the album, conjuring a very Disney-esque image. If you think about it, the love that isn’t meant to be storyline of this song is kind of perfect for a Disney movie. I’d watch it.
And “Rapera” isn’t the only love song. The electro-tinged “Tus padres estan mirandonos” is adorably awkward, like the tough guy who can’t properly express emotions showing up at your door with flowers because he thinks that’s what he’s supposed to do. Then he realizes that talking to horses with you is a much better idea. “Hablas con los caballos, tambien yo voy a hablarles, de ti yo voy a contarles” might be the best moment on the album. And “Tocayo (version brownie magico)” is the perfect note to end on. The hazy retelling of a house party with fireworks leftover from December is what every post-holidays party is like where I’m from (minus the whole incestuous porn part).
In terms of musical style and subject matter, Michael esta vivo is all over the place, which is actually quite impressive considering that the EP is only seven short songs. The way it goes from garage rock to hip hop to country to electro and covers everything from porn to border violence to love and self-esteem might be confusing to some, but it makes perfect sense for these irreverent rockers. There’s no such thing as compromise in rock and roll.