Cachanilla y Flor de Azar, Juan Cirerol
by Carlos Reyes
Cachanilla y Flor de Azar will always be remembered as the album whose high demand brought down Juan Cirerol’s website. Within half an hour of it becoming public (offered as a free download), the server was no longer capable of providing its services. Fans (our staff included) turned to social networks looking for those lucky people who got the chance to download it. The widespread interest and artist-advocated sharing of this material validated Cirerol’s profile as both new cult icon and active populist. The burgeoning popularity of Cirerol (often called Johnny Cachanilla) brought disproportion to the artist’s means of distribution, which is why we are to understand his recent inclusion to Universal Music as something inevitable.
We’re unaware of the timing between this release and his induction to the transnational label, but it wouldn’t be surprising to find a correlation between the two. Cachanilla y Flor de Azar feels like it was put together as one last offering of informality. It’s hardly an album; it’s actually a mixtape of sorts. The 14-track package is disorienting to say the least (a possible outcome of not having Vale Vergas’ Txema Novelo overlooking the details this time around). The album is impulsive (abrupt sequencing), disorganized (muddled iTunes tags), and aesthetically indifferent. But beyond its manufacturing flaws, this is also Cirerol’s most punk moment yet, something of great regard in his young yet prolific career. “Soy un junkie cualquiera,” he confesses after rowdily wounding the soundscape with his harmonica. His grasp of the vernacular had rarely been this frank and uncouth.
Even when flirting with the sweeter side of imagery (like in album standout “Cerca del Mar”), Cirerol still opts to sound more blood-rushed than reflective to the medium. The most memorable moments arrive with tracks like “En donde esta el corazón” and “El Carril #3,” which witness the troubadour reacting to melody through Mexico’s most pedestrian and popular genres (rancheras and corridos). Hits like Café Tacvba’s “La Ingrata” and Jessy Bulbo’s “La Cruda Moral” have reconciled rock and roll with Mexico’s regional/folk sounds, but unlike those acts, Cirerol’s accomplishment works for authenticity rather than comedic hubris. We’re sure Cirerol will overcome any future label confinements he might stumble upon. Cachanilla y Flor de Azar’s production is a great departure from the glossiness acquired in Haciendo Leña and is a comeback to the DIY assembly of Ofrenda al Mictlan. It’s Cirerol’s most wild and busiest collection yet, and that’s enough for it to transcend beyond a novelty release.