Raghava Lakshminarayana made it to school with barely enough time to sign in.
It has been a massive year for Mexico’s El Shirota. The loud four-piece, from the Northern suburbs of Mexico City, have strung together new music, bigger shows and a growing buzz going around town (and the internet), about their rowdy live sets. They’re back yet again with another ripper, “Tarde/Temprano,” Spanish for “Sooner/Later.”
True to their promise of non-stop musical exploration, on “Tarde/Temprano,” El Shirota have carved out yet another facet of their sound. This one shies away from the noise and the grit of their earlier hardcore material. Instead, it’s a four minute single that upon first listen, sounds like a lost track from two decades ago, when guitar music was still “a thing.” It could belong to a Dinosaur Jr. or a Sonic Youth B-side, but upon closer inspection, it’s simply another El Shirota banger that takes what those bands have done and carefully crafts on top of it.
The song gets up in your face from the first power chord and blossoms into a heavy riff. The stadium-loud drums beat on and shoot this sharp-riffed bullet into the back of your skull. Then, it roams around in there, as the main guitar riff wavers in and out, making way for intricate stringed rhythms laid out over a bold bassline—a callback to their indie rock influences. But the track really comes together for the finishing blow where the main riff pounces back and explodes, in true El Shirota fashion.
The lyrics don’t say much; Ruben, one of the lead guitarists and vocalists, drones on about how time is fleeting and nothing really happens. The band says that this track, “plays with vocal harmonies that oscillate between monotonous verses and one of the most “clean” instrumental sections that El Shirota have played in their musical career.” In other words, it’s a big F.U. to the critics that call their music punk, hardcore or noise rock. “Tarde/Temprano” is just another example of how you can’t fit El Shirota into a box and if you try to do so, they’ll prove you wrong every time. So just enjoy their trip.