When punk first kicked our bedroom doors in proclaiming anyone can be in a band, it was an inspiration for many to get off their arse and show what they can do. Resulting in panic throughout the music industry to get on board, giving many bands exposure they previously would have been denied. This complete revolution somehow managed to extend around the globe, without the aid of internet technology or bands being able to tour further afield. Now forty years on there is a debate around “is technology killing music”, where some are happy to hand over cash to see a DJ destroy a good tune by mixing it with the sound of an ambulance getting attacked by a baseball bat. But there is a positive flip side of this, in that the DIY punk ethos is now more than ever achievable worldwide, with bands able to record, produce, promote, publicise, sell merchandise and keep us all up to date by social media. Now is that punk?
Anyway, from the other side of the world some friends seem to have taken the DIY approach and formed a band in 2016, then recorded, produced and released an album in 2017 (quick or what). Souvenir Atomico (Atomic Souvenirs) hail from Northern Mexico and consist of Bug on guitar and vocals, Gabby on sax and vocals, Radiobot on bass and Yorch playing the drums. They describe their music as courageous and energetic with a political edge. They are heavily influenced by many ska/punk bands that have came before them, such as Operation Ivy, NOFX and Voodoo Glow Skulls.
This definitely shows in the self titled album that’s been in my ears (although not on my lips, as I’ve been unable to sing along with the Mexican lyrics!). The album starts with a distorted statement and heads into slightly 60s spaghetti western territory with the first track Colt 45, before letting you know what Souvenir Atomico are all about with some short sharp ska guitar. In Sin Perdon (No Forgiveness) you can hear the tone of a political content from the vocal here without needing speaking the language; the music skips along at a fast pace with a strong sax throughout, and a short,sharp, high pitched guitar: ska style. La Sangre Liama (The Blood Calls) is a slower paced track with a more pronounced discontented vocals, the sax is prominent again but drifts away into the distance with the cymbals. The band come out fighting with a humorous side Ninja Surf starts with a gong and what seems like Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan on backing vocal, before heading off to Instrumental land with a bit more bass and twanging geetar.
I feel that Souvenir Atomico have served up a tried and tested sound that I would probably look to USA ska/punk bands for, namely the bands they state as their own influences. In saying that they have delivered an album that would not sound out of place in that sort of company, and would be a enjoyable addition to a connoisseur of worldwide ska sounds.