Policías y Ladrones // Necio
Recommended Track(s): Horrible
Policías y Ladrones (Police and Thieves) is a rock n roll band from Tijuana, Mexico, who record and perform en Español. This garage punk trio—Alonzo on Guitar; Ivan on “low” vocals, and Luis on drums—are slated to perform at Viva Pomona, the two day musical affair this upcoming weekend.
Fortunately for Policías y Ladrones the climate seems right for them to make a big splash north of their home base. As evidenced by Necio, their 4 song EP, not only do Policías y Ladrones play a pleasing style of rock ‘n’ roll that fits the good time garage power pop punk that the promoters of Viva Pomona specialize in but, perhaps serendipitously, they’re set to perform shortly after recently published statistics reveal that the California population is now majority Hispanic, and relatively young, with a median age of about 29. Combine that with a rich and influential history of Mexican American/Chicano rock ‘n’ rollers and you have the context for a perfect storm of audience receptiveness. The only question is whether Policías y Ladrones are up to the task, and after listening to this short collection of songs I think that they are.
Richie Valens may have been the first to make it big, but the sound that Policías y Ladrones seems to be reaching for has its roots in the music of Mexican American “punk” pioneers like the Stains, the Plimsouls, and the Zeros. Policías y Ladrones also share a common vibe with more contemporary groups like Puerto Rico’s Davila 666 and Thee Commons (also on the Viva Pomona bill.) Overall this EP is solid, well-packaged, and cleanly produced in a less lo-fi way that doesn’t belie or undercut its ability to rock ‘n’ roll. The most commercial sounding song is the opener, “A Dónde Voy”. It has a sing-song refrain that feels good amidst amiable power pop. “Necio”, the EP’s namesake, has an unmistakable Ramones vibe at their most accessible. Things get tougher with “Perdido”, which has a hard rocking intro that sets the tone for the guitar to more noticeably growl. My favorite track is the last one, “Horrible”, which brings to mind not anything in Spanish, but a country-ish sound not unlike that found on Let it Bleed. One doesn’t have to be of Mexican descent or a Spanish speaker to dig Policías y Ladrones. Rock ‘n’ roll is its own language. One that Policías y Ladrones seems fluent in.