Creaturas, San Pedro El Cortez
Vale Vergas Discos, Mexico
by Jeziel Jovel
Because of its bittersweet reputation, the city of Tijuana is easy to misinterpret from the outside and hard to explain from the inside. The city that has recently seen ruidoson idols and nortec cowboys bloom is now the cradle for an unexpected resurrection of inglorious trasheostars that put anarcopunk in the social spectrum. There’s a scream behind every chord of San Pedro El Cortez, a band that flirts with the glorification of the bordertown but rejects the idea of the city absorbing them. Even in times when this kind of music is fashionable, there’s still a certain guilt (inherited by parents and nuns) that the band’s themes and punk have to challenge. San Pedro El Cortez confronts the landscape with honest and personal noise.
In 2007, a band of sick fucks called the Black Lips recorded a live album at a bar in Tijuana. The youngsters from the then-recently assembled San Pedro El Cortez were there, and the event stirred a potential path for the band to take. That particular night was full of everything and nothing. Black Lips surfed a night of drugs, wigs, and makeup and, as if they were living inside of an Emir Kusturica film, they saw the noisy night transforming into one where a drunken mariachi closed the night playing José Alfredo Jiménez’s “El Rey” (the eternal hymn of all the cantina’s drunks). “They’re living the real dream of rock and roll and do whatever they want to do…having fun and getting drunk while playing your own songs, that was a shocking revelation for us,” says San Pedro’s leading vocalist Diego Cordoba.
The UK invented punk, the gringos sold it, and the Latinos have fun with it. San Pedro’s latest EP, Creaturas, is living proof. The EP explores the hardships of a youth searching to escape absurd realities imposed on them, a sonic youth’s robbed soul that fights against the fears that now make the punk zeitgeist seem loveless. Produced by Dr. Bona (Los Fancy Free, 6 Million Dollar Weirdo), Creaturas is a notable step forward in sound from San Pedro’s first release, El Vals Mefisto. Explosive guitar riffs pristinely combine with primitive drums in fast-paced songs like “Castañeda” and “Chica Mala." It may seem like the least thing to expect, but the assembly of their instruments showcases a band that’s resourceful and attentive of your attention span. San Pedro El Cortez share a similar escapist urgency with other contemporaries like fellow punks Ave Negra, their profane compatriots Calafia Puta, or even the acoustic norteño strings from Juan Cirerol.
Coming from the absurd, chaotic, and dirty things of routine life, every track on the assaulting Creaturas feels like a platform where the band unloads their daily share of mental sickness. They search for receptors open to share the experience, continuum, and a few bucks to buy some caguamas at the after party. “Yo solo quiero escapar de esta absurda realidad,” sighs the band in “Conjuro del Diablo.” There’s nothing poetic to overanalyze—San Pedro El Cortez kicks and bites, and they’ve found a channel for escapism and rebirth in the warm yet cruel infrastructure of that almighty genre we call rock and roll.