- Released: 2008
- Origin: Medellin, Colombia
- Label: Punk Outlaw
- Best Track: Justicia De Ley
There’s little doubt that music is as affected as any art by the ‘Western Canon‘. I’d hazard a guess that well over half of my music collection is made up of artists from either the UK or the US. Ireland puts in its fair share of course, and there are probably a fair few Canadians and Australians, some from the Nordic countries, and maybe the odd bit from Japan. Really though, even in a vast musical collection, probably only a small portion of the world is covered by anyone but the most discerning collector.
I want to make sure I listen to at least one album from all six inhabited continents during this project, so I thought I’d explore South America’s punk scene this time. I’ve stumbled across Los Suziox (translating as ‘The Dirty), who hail from a working class district of Colombia’s second-largest city, Medellin. There’s no shortage of corruption and injustice in this part of the world, so there should be plenty of material to spew their guts over. It appears that El Fin Justifica Los Medios (The End Justifies the Means) is their only studio album, although they do have a few compilations containing a lot of the same songs.
First thing I like about Los Suziox – they sing in their own language. Seriously, there’s nothing more off-putting to me than foreign bands trying to put together songs in limited English, forcing rhymes by using words out of context. Don’t get me wrong, it’s impressive to be able to write any lyrics outside of one’s native language, but I’d rather bands expressed themselves in the way that comes most naturally to them – even if it means I don’t fully understand it. Plus, Spanish is a language that lends itself much better to music than English, with more rhyming words and fewer harsh, plosive sounds (although in the case of punk, maybe they aren’t a bad thing).
The second thing I like about them is, they’re bloody good! Songs are fast, spiky and venomous, and they wear their hearts on their sleeves in what they say (from what I can work out – A-Level Spanish from 18 years ago can only get you so far!).
Riffs, in true punk tradition, rarely expand beyond a few chords and there does seem to be a Ramones influence, albeit with more hard-hitting, political lyrics. I particularly like the backing vocals though, especially on tracks like opener ‘Armas Silenciosas’ (Silent Weapons) and the superb ‘Justicia De Ley’ (Justice of Law). I’m not big on harmonising in punk – I prefer what these guys are doing with one clear lead vocalist and a different, coarser and more distant voice coming in now and again, if only to give the frontman’s vocal chords a rest.
I’m really happy with this accidental finding. It’s a reminder that punk is a truly universal language, and there’s a lot more than just Boris and Donald that are worth getting worked up about in the world.