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Friday, May 17, 2024
AJ Davila

Record Routine: Puerto Rican garage rocker releases stunning sequel to debut album

Just a little over nine months ago, AJ Davila of Puerto Rican garage rock band Davila 666 released his first solo piece, Terror/Amor, via Nacional Records. Davila has released his sophomore album Beibi alongside a new Davila 666 album, on top of touring the U.S. with both projects. For Beibi, Davila moved over to Burger Records, a DIY-based independent label that promotes its music organically through vinyl, cassettes and insane tour caravans of outrageous garage/punk rock bands throughout the country. Burger’s focus on the audacious purity of rock ’n’ roll parallels immaculately with Davila’s Beibi, one of the best “sugary, flower-punk” garage albums of the year (since Terror/Amor, of course).

The opening shreds of “Vamanos Lejos” reveal Iggy Pop Raw Power-esque intensity to hint at a far heavier overall feel than Davila’s past solo work. Infrequent riffs of an out of control lead guitar further hint that Davila, along with Terror Amor, has matured instrumentally in the short time between album releases. The theme of “Vamanos Lejos” (“let’s get away” in English) is rich with nonconformance, outlawish rule breaking and all the badassery that comes with a skyrocketing rock band.

“Borderline,” the album’s single, holds steady in this theme, but with a slightly vulnerable distinction. The song narrates the story of a broken heart, but with a strong “fuck it” attitude that gives the song a powerful hopefulness about taking life’s hardships and dancing with them.

The following tracks, “Oh Mama (Solo Quiero Pecar)” and “Todo Lo Que Quiero” are reminiscent of early Black Lips performances, complete with heavy flower-rock catchiness and thick rhythm guitars as the heartbeat of the melodies. “Oh Mama” exposes a psychedelic overtone which is later featured on “Media Naranja”, a spacey, distorted glam jam that mesmerizes the listener.

“Qué Bien” is the perfect intermission track for Beibi. A light, indie folk-feeling tune, “Qué Bien” holds an “everything’s good” (“¡Siempre bien, qué bien!”) outlook which fades only at the very end, priming the listener for the garage-heavy second half of the album.

“Rubyouwrongtime” and “Tu Quieres” are pure rock thrashers, and closing tracks “Quiero Inferno” and “Se Dé Ti” are darker, more intense punk tracks foreshadowed by the opening song. “Pero, Party, Cero Prisa” is the catchiest, most fun-filled track on Beibi, quite similar in structure and tone to the stand out track “Es Verano Ya” on Terror/Amor.

Beibi is a well-rounded, fantastic rock ’n’ roll album. 2014 has been quite the year for Davila. And with his talent combined with the amazing instrumental skill of Terror Amor and continuing success of Davila 666, this seems to be just the beginning for the impressive garage rocker.

Rating: A

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