Chino - Mala Leche
Magwheel Records

What sounds like it's south of the border, but it's actually north of the border?

It's Chino! The first song, "Uno Mas", features a chorus of the title words and distorted backing vocals in Spanish, and brings to mind a round of tequilas in some hot, rockin' Mexican bar. These guys are actually from Montreal, however, which is in the opposite direction.
There is definitely some Canada here, though. They say that Canada now is just like the U.S. was ten years ago, and that's probably true here - in a good way. Think back to the early '90s, when the Internet was an unknown conclave of nerds and every Simpsons episode wasn't based on a lame celebrity guest. Think back to a time before Nirvana, when rock was cleaner and clearer, and you would get an idea of where Chino begins. The songs have that rocking feel-goodness to them, with big guitar starts sliding into smoother pop melodies. Chino just doesn't click with the current idea of punk, pop or indie- they seem to come from a time before power pop and emotional hardcore, perched on the edge of a new decade with 10 years of Husker Du and The Police to look back on.
The EP does a nice job of switching up the pace, between slower songs like "Mustard Sally" and more instrumentally jumpy ones like "Nine Yards". The writing is solid and sing-a-longable, if not particularly groundbreaking.
"Mala Leche" (bad milk? My Spanish is pretty weak) is a six song EP, and with an average song length a little over three minutes, this isn't going to kill a whole lot of time. It's definitely useful for a quick listen, though, and suggests good things from this band in the future. Me gusto!
...erick bieritz...

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