In a world where punk rock finally seems irrevocably caught between the impulses of the anyone-can-do-it spirit and commercial success, there's always room for people who know how to celebrate the original spirit of the music. Manic Hispanic take it one step further, though. Consisting of a variety of long-serving Orange County punk rock vets of Chicano background, like the Adolescents' Steve Soto and the Cadillac Tramps' Mike Gaborno, the seven-piece act revisits a slew of U.S. and U.K. slam pit classics on their debut. Dressed up in their finest fly gear on the cover photos, the members aren't out to beat down folks, though, this is a pure love for the music that got them all going in the first place, with lyrics rewritten as needed, Brixton exchanged for the barrio, Broadway for Olvera Street. The recording is clear, the performances sharp, and while there aren't any surprises in the music per se, it's the (quite literally) accented vocals that make The Menudo Incident such a fun treat. Just about anybody and everybody gets the nod here: the Clash's "Garage Land" becomes "Barrio Land," the Adolescents' "Amoeba" becomes "Amigo," the Buzzcocks' "Orgasm Addict," a song named after the band itself, Pete Shelley's nerdily rapturous wail on the instrumental break replaced with "Ay Ay!" Spanish lyric deliveries, and other slight tweakings along the way -- drinks, cars, slang, it's all there - help make things all the more fun, while the nutty "Medley (Rodney on the ROQ)" purees six classics from the '60s and '70s into one big ol' bash. A fun bonus is the band's original "Poem" at the end, which switches to a low-rider, old soul, tearjerker-style musically to deliver a sweet story about an expected gang rumble turned into a "drive-by smiling" -- like the band's been demonstrating throughout, it's all about love, not hate.
The Menudo Incident Review
by Ned Raggett