Staying Alive

By: Marcelo Báez

It’s been over seven years since Molotov released a studio record—a long time. Think about it: seven years ago, you still had a Myspace account, and Steve Jobs (QEPD) had just announced the first iPhone. So does Agua Maldita pick up where Molotov left off? With the exception of a few singles, I stopped paying attention to the band after their first album (1997’s Dónde Jugarán las Niñas), so I have no clue. But that’s probably a good thing: not knowing the band’s entire discography allows me to be more objective when it comes to this particular album.

“Oleré y Oleré y Oleré el Uhu,” the first song, is a catchy, charged, straightforward chanter. To be more specific: it’s very Queens of the Stone Age, and I wanna hear more of that. But Molotov broke out right when nu metal—essentially a combination of funk, metal and rap (hey, Korn and Limp Bizkit!)—became a thing, so it’s no surprise “La Raza Pura Es la Pura Raza” sounds like something late ’90s Zack de la Rocha could have released. Still, at its core, the song is very Molotov: political, irreverent and populist.

Although the Mexican band has a sharper sense of humor than most of the embarrassing remnants of nu metal (on “Lagunas Metales,” Molotov cleverly pokes fun at many of their colleagues), some of their musical stylings are unforgivable. I know I’m gonna sound like an asshole for criticizing a song with a positive message, but on “La Necesidad,” which laments economical hardship, Molotov’s cheesy raps make Caló sound like Brotha Lynch Hung.

It may have taken seven years for Molotov to put out a new record, but the band has been touring extensively ever since their initial existence, on top of which each member is or has been involved with some sort of side project. And all that experience translates into good musicianship, and on “Lorari” the band showcases their flexibility: funky bass lines, better vocal flow, lots of vernacular wordsmithery. The chorus’s melody, however, sounds lifted from the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence.” (I’m not saying the band did so intentionally, but yeah, it’s “Dear Prudence” just slightly sped up.)

Having taken such a long break, one would expect Molotov to come back with a box set’s worth of material, yet Agua Maldita is only 10 songs long. To their credit, the record doesn’t sound disjointed, and it’s probably better to keep it short and sweet. But while some songs (such as the aforementioned “Oleré” and the surf-heavy “Gonner”) are hooky, I don’t really hear any World-Cup-controversy-worthy hits on Agua Maldita. Maybe they’re not going for that sort of thing anymore, but if they seriously plan to move this record, they should probably ask La Santa Muerte for a milagro maldito.

LOGISTICS: Agua Maldita by Molotov, available now

Marcelo Baéz is a writer, DJ, and musician based in NYC. When he's not producing "Rico Suave" parties, he releases music under P3CULIAR.