El Valiente (Saustex)
Reviewed by Kevin Curtin, Fri., June 14, 2013
Piñata ProtestEl Valiente (Saustex)
San Antonio's Norteño punks return with a swaggering eight-song offering that, from opening track "Vato Perron," resembles the Pogues' "Fiesta," an early example of this rarified mix of traditional Latin music with punk rock. Second hitter "Life on the Border," something of a mission statement for the young band, showcases singer Alvaro Del Norte's phenomenal accordion skills with furious triplet notes. From there the album dives into cliched wordplay ("Tomorrow, Today") and tiresome hooks ("Guadalupe") until two covers, Vicente Ferdandez's "Volver, Volver" and "La Cucaracha," brilliantly execute crunchy power chords, lock-tight basslines, and rapido punk rock drums. That revives El Valiente in time for hardcore closer "Que Pedo." It took Piñata Protest two releases to find its sound, overcoming the low-octane production of their debut with a sonically badass mix from local studio head Frenchie Smith here, but it will take at least three to find their songwriting sweet spot.