El Cuervo Sucio is a bilingual, cosmopolitan crew located in the college town Bloomington, Indiana. We play English language originals and completely remake Spanish post-punk classics from Peru (because Shane the guitarist/vocalist is also this weird anthropologist guy who is faculty at Indiana University and is publishing a book about the history of Peruvian punk).
Core Members are: Shane Greene (vocalist/guitarist); Matt McConahay (bassist); John Valdez (drummer) and the additionally, likely-to-soon-become-an-official-band-member Curtis Williams (saxophonist). We play shows. We recorded our album DIY style (Shane has a pretty sweet home set-up) but had some assistance from friends who know more about mixing and mastering. Shane writes the songs or proposes the covers. John, Matt, and Curtis kick ass on their instruments.
To be honest… bursts into view with an electrifying, bluesy guitar riff, supported by punchy, jazz-fueled bass. This aptly named opener (“Black Flowers”) sets the pace for the entirety of the album. Greene’s resonating chest-vocals engulf the empty space around him, inducing a level of elation in the listener and an overwhelming wall of sound usually present only in a live set.
The mood lightens on “Downstairs” but the pace remains consistently punchy and energetic, pumped full of surf-styled guitar tinkering this time around. Tasteful bursts of short, sweet and funky saxophone arpeggios flutter in and out of the track at intervals throughout the track. The meld of guitar, pulsating drum filler and whirring saxophone solos is perfectly crafted here.
Yet, when it seems that El Cuervo Sucio has squeezed every creative idea from their brain banks, “Never a Dull Day (ode to che)” emerges. This was an unexpectedly-emotive piece, brimming to the surface with sorrowful nostalgia and brittle, tortured vocals which overlap restrained bass and a stunning guitar melody. It was a personal favorite, but it does mark a significant stylistic leap within the album and may break the jazzy, energetic pump of the initial tracks for some. For most, hopefully, it will be a welcome moment of catharsis.
El Cuervo Sucio puts forward a solid piece of music here. It’s as simple as that. Don’t take my word for it - go and listen for yourself.
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