Album review: THE WILD MAGNOLIA MARIACHIS – Boogie Indians

The Wild Magnolia Mariachis - Boogie Indians

NotNowMom! [Released 13.06.14]

With a name like The Wild Magnolia Mariachis, you suspect this isn’t going to be anything less than a stomping party record. And so it proves, as the 9 piece band rock their way through old school r&b, boogie, blues and above all rock and roll. Come to think of it, that list should be inverted, as this is nothing less than a shit- kicking, rock & roll party album with 13 variations on a theme, plus a special bonus track.

Yessiree, ‘Boogie Indians’ is a horn pumping, amp smoking, rock and roll party album that goes up, down, sideways and back again and comes to rest on a Latino end-piece that carries the band’s name.

The Wild Magnolia Mariachis aren’t simple fired up by their south of the border horn-led passion, as they also have an apparent affinity with the music of New Jersey, as evidenced by two covers by Springsteen and one each by Southside Johnny and Little Steven respectively

From the barn burning title track onwards, you are either on board with their rock & roll mission or you get left on the shelf. Toto and Sudi’s guitars and a three piece horn section burn in unison on the outro of the title track.

It’s a fiery template for the album as a whole, as Christos adds a succession of muscular drum patterns and the horns shifts from a supporting role to blazing front line players over Mosquito’s  rolling piano. The music envelops you with its energy, sizzling solos and Frenzy Erl’s mix, which perfectly captures the band’s excitement levels.

Producer/ song writer Christian ‘Sudi’ Sudendorf adds razor blade vocals to give the material a jagged edge, as the band rock and roll their way through a well balanced set of originals and covers. By the time of Willie Dixon’s ‘Tail Dragger’, Sudi’s George Thorogood style vocal re-states the album’s blue collar bar room feel

‘My Billy Ho’ opens with portentous feedback and a rippling Bo Diddley beat full of shimmering guitars and a rasping vocal that gives the song its urgency.

The trick on such a high energy album is not to lose momentum. The band avoid this by leaning into a harp-led blues on ‘Chicago Bound’, which provides enough variety with its mid-number New Orleans horn-led swing and boogie piano to maintain our interest.

They revert to pure rock & roll on the high octane ‘King of the Boogie Tribe’, which offsets a moderate vocal, with a jumping rhythm section and intense guitar playing.  They similarly rip it up on Chuck Berry’s ‘Let It Rock’, which is bolstered by a wailing baritone sax and a killer horn section that plays double lines with the guitars.

In between those two they dip into Southside Johnny’s ‘Tell ‘Em I’m Broke’ and finally slacken the pace – if not the dynamic – on the ironic ‘Going Down To Manchester’, on which the narrator turns his back on Munich for Manchester over a beautiful horn arrangement.

They rock out on Springsteen’s ‘Johnny99’ and boogie with venom on ZZ Top’s ‘Heard It On The X’. They aren’t quite as impressive on another Springsteen cover ‘Don’t Trust the Suits’, mainly because Sudi’s vocal struggles to convey the song’s gravitas, but the slide guitar figure brings its own sense of purpose.

‘Treat Her Right’ is given a slightly different feel with a rolling piano and  pumping horns and just when you think the band have exhausted every musical possibility they finish with an expected 2.46 second thematic end-piece, ‘Los Mariachis de las Magnolias Salvjes’ – all acoustic guitar, percussion and Latino vocals.

Crack a few cans, pump up the jukebox, crank up the volume and party like it was yesterday!  ****

Review by Pete Feenstra


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